Cornucopia Newsletter of St. Joseph Social Service center & The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless Winter 2010 In this issue we tried to focus some of our atten- Honoring our Haitian Community tion on the various cul- By Amy Travis tures that come together at St. Joseph’s. Below is On any given morning at infrastructure was com studying nursing. The a list of countries that our Center, if you stand pletely destroyed; the news of the earthquake some of our clients used outside and listen to the magnitude of the tragedy has put her in an emo to call home: people waiting for the is incomprehensible. tional tailspin. She said doors to open you will she is unable to stop Albania, Argentina, hear animated conversa The tragedy has impacted thinking about all the tions in Haitian Creole. our clients in many differ people she knows in Port China, Colombia, Cuba, ent ways. A few lucky Dominican Republic, The majority of our Hai auPrince. Unable to tian clients come for our people said that they do communicate with them, Ecuador, Egypt, El Sal- daily clothing distribution not have any family or she is completely con vador, England, Ghana, and monthly food pantry. friends in PortauPrince. sumed with worry. She Greece, Guatemala, Rain, snow and summer The majority though, confided that she started heat do not deter them. have been affected in drinking in an effort to Haiti, Honduras, India, some way. Italy, Jamaica, Kenya, Their persistence speaks avoid her feelings. I told volumes about their need; I do not speak Haitian her to call me anytime Malaysia, Mexico, Mo- many of them are fighting and referred her to Edie rocco, Nicaragua, Nige- Creole or French and tooth and nail to survive struggled to talk with Cheney for more indepth ria, Peru, Poland, Portu- in this country while sup some of our clients. I grief and trauma counsel gal, Sierra Leone, porting large families asked one woman about ing. Spain, Syria, Trinidad abroad. her family and if she was Despite past and present & Tobago, Uruguay Haiti has long held the impacted. At first, she challenges, Haiti has a dubious distinction of looked at me– confused. rich history and a culture being the poorest country The moment she under of perseverance in the Inside this issue: in the Americas. News of stood what I was asking, face of suffering. In 1804, the devastating earth her face twisted in an the community of slaves Ash Wednesday Pilgrim- 2 quake in PortauPrince guish. She began a litany in Haiti defeated the age was horrifying. An earth of names and made ges world’s most powerful quake of that magnitude tures indicating wounds armies and navies to cre The World at our Door- 3 and amputations. With step would be devastating ate the first Blackled anywhere. But Portau no words, I pointed up independent republic in 2010 Service Fair 3 Prince? The area was wards and folded my the world. already fraught with hands together indicating problems: widespread that I would pray for her. Rather than organize for Project S.H.A.R.E. 4 hunger, a legacy of unfair mal food and clothing About a week after the collections that may international debt, lack of tragedy I received a trou medical services and very never arrive, we trust our In the Spirit of Dorothy 5, 7 bling call from a young limited infrastructure. Haitian clients to use our Day woman. She is originally Add into the equation the services to help their from Haiti and lived in families. In times of cri The Christmas Project 6 relative population den PortauPrince. She’s sity of PortauPrince and sis, a close knit commu been in the United States nity can make all the dif the fact that any sem for years and is currently Our Wish List 6 ference. blance of healthcare and Visit us online at: www.stjosephelizabeth.org and www.theelizabethcoalition.org PAGE 2 C O R NU C O P I A WI NT E R 2 0 1 0 Pilgrimage for a Just Immigration Policy By Sister Briege Lavery On Wednesday, February 17th, Ash State Park and proceeded through Sisters of Mercy MidAtlantic, Lu Wednesday, over a hundred people Jersey City, then Newark and finally theran Office of Governmental Min braved the bitter cold to walk 10.5 to the Elizabeth Detention Center istry – NJ, the New Jersey Immigra miles in a Pilgrimage for Just Immi where a prayer service and candle tion Policy Network, St. Joseph So gration Policy from Liberty State light vigil took place. Stops were cial Service Center, the Elizabeth Park in Jersey City (across from Ellis made for prayer and rest at St. Pat Coalition to House the Homeless,, St. Island and facing the Statue of Lib rick’s Assumption/All Saints Church Mary of the Assumption, Elizabeth, erty) to the Elizabeth Detention Cen in Jersey City, the Islamic Center of St. Patrick’s Assumption/All Saints, ter and as a measure of solidarity Jersey City, Temple Beth El, Jersey Jersey City, Sisters of St. Joseph of with immigrants, especially those City and Grace Lutheran Church in Philadelphia, and Wind of the Spirit. incarcerated at various Immigration Newark. The pilgrims were met at and Customs Enforcement detention Elizabeth Detention Center at 6 p.m. The pilgrims and those who attended centers throughout the United by approximately another one hun the prayer service at the Detention States. The event also sought to dred people who participated in a Center came from all walks of life highlight the inhumane conditions in prayer service and candlelight vigil. and many nationalities were repre which immigrant detainees are being Participants were then invited back sented. All were united in their oppo held in facilities such as the Eliza to St. Joseph’s Social Service Center sition to current U.S. immigration beth Detention Center run by Cor for a delicious soup supper and a fur policies which run counter to “values rections Corporation of America. Par ther talk. of respect for human dignity, the ticipants were urged to contact their rights of workers, and family unity”. senators and congressmen to voice The main organizers and sponsors of the event included Pax Christi NJ; A special word of thanks to Kathy their support for comprehensive im O’Leary and her hardworking com migration reform and an end to the American Friends Service Commit tee; IRATE and First Friends; Immi mittee who organized this successful mistreatment of immigrants and event and to all who participated in refugees in the United States. grants Rights Program, Newark; Haiti Solidarity Network of the the Pilgrimage and Prayer Service. The Pilgrimage began at Liberty Northeast; the Justice Office of the Some of the Coalition/St. Joe’s pilgrims: Saba, Susie, Bar bara and Sr. Jacinta Longtime Coalition volunteer Barbara Burke. Each pil People gather at the Cen grim carried the name of ter after the vigil to warm somebody who died in up with soup and bread. detention. WI NT E R 2 0 1 0 C O R NU C O P I A PAGE 3 The World at Our Doorstep By Amy Travis On paper, the work we do at St. For example, beans are uniformly ents recently arrived from other Joseph’s seems relatively straight popular but the type of bean varies countries, our prescription and refill forward. We distribute food, assist by culture. A Dominican client may system can be quite foreign. In people with medication, clothes and prefer pigeon peas while a Mexican most parts of the world, prescrip household items, give out sand client prefers black beans. A client tions are not required to purchase wiches; the list goes on. However, born and raised in the U.S. might medication. In this situation, I much of what we do is “between the prefer baked beans or black eyed must translate the word lines”. One type of service we pro peas. A simple item like dried “prescription” but also explain how vide is acting as sort of cultural am beans can elicit completely opposite our system works. bassadors for people who have re responses. Some people can’t stand cently arrived from different cul the hours of soaking and simmering “Translation” does not always occur tures and for those who are margin while others welcome the process as across languages. In one instance alized by mainstream culture. a familiar custom from home. an older, Englishspeaking woman asked me to help her call her health One way this manifests itself is in There are also cultural groups that insurance company. I thought she food distribution. Every month a I never would have imagined. For meant that she wanted to use my dedicated team of volunteers pack example, people who were incarcer phone. I dialed and passed her the hundreds of uniformly organized ated sometimes create incredible phone. She said, “No, no, could you bags for our monthly distribution. recipes from foods typically avail please talk to them for me? I really After distribution, it often falls on able in prison commissaries. One don’t understand what they’re talk staff members to pack emergency gentleman described an entire ing about.” She later confided to me bags for people in need. Over the menu of creative concoctions made that she didn’t go very far in school years, I’ve learned how to adapt exclusively from tuna, saltines and and had a hard time understanding what I pack to suit the situation ramen noodles! the phone system and culture of the client. For exam ple, somebody who is homeless and Language and translation is also an We aim to provide services that ad on the street can only use items underlying service we provide to our dress physical needs and, in doing that do not need to be heated– clients. Often we literally translate so, we often help clients navigate crackers, peanut butter, jelly tuna, mail or formal documents but we different cultural environments. etc. Somebody who is in a shelter also adapt our speech and teach The Center is an incredible mix of may have a microwave but nothing clients about life in the U.S. For cultures and ethnicities. Though else; they could use canned soups example, I know that the verb coger we may not be a hot shot multi but no pasta or rice. (to grab or pick up) is ok to use with national company, we sure can most clients but with Mexicans I boast a truly global clientele! Cultural preferences play an impor must use agarrar. (Coger is ex tant role in food packing as well. tremely vulgar in Mexico!) For cli 2010 Service Fair By Tiffany Starr This year’s Service Fair for the munity participation was greatly coats, medical exams, and, of course, Homeless took place on January appreciated and allowed for a very the haircuts by Ada Gonzalez! The 27th in conjunction with Homeless successful event. smiling faces of the homeless persons Point in Time Count. The Fair was of Union County showed how much well attended, serving about 175 The individuals and families who they appreciated this year’s Service people who were able to take advan attend left with bags full of informa Fair. tage of the twentyfive different ser tion, hygiene kits, socks, and other vice providers who offered free ser giveaways. Some of the highlights vices and information. This com of the day included the free soup, PAGE 4 C O R NU C O P I A WI NT E R 2 0 1 0 Join the Coalition Team By Linda Flores-Tober The Coalition is in need of volun needs the following items: new tow tutor our children Monday teers for Operation Warm Heart. els, twin and double sized blankets Thursday. Or maybe your group Ways to volunteer: make a freez and sheets, household cleaning would like to teach our children able casserole for 15 people we oc items: dish soap, cleanser, sponges, something special: gardening, have casionally provide dinner for the window wash, paper towels and a field day, cooking, arts and crafts guests and need a stock of meals. laundry detergent (we need both or take them bowling, swimming or Other volunteer opportunities are the regular and the “HE” versions). a trip to a museum or local school overnight volunteers and afternoon Gift cards to local grocery stores play. We love board games and art hosting as our clients wait for the such as Shop Rite and Pathmark supplies. We have a piano in the van to take them to the church for are appreciated as well. Do you church that can be used for a singa the night. We need items such as have a special talent or skill? We long. razors, deodorant, tube socks and are always looking for opportunities toothpaste. to offer workshops for our guests. The Hospitality House program Bernice’s Place needs volunteers to Don't forget the Lenten Retreat Feinstein Challenge St. Joseph's Day March 12th! Fundraiser March 19th! March April Project S.H.A.R.E.: Making a Difference By Linda Flores-Tober The Elizabeth Coalition to House jects. Lia is a case management from Rutgers was a Women’s Stud the Homeless has added a new pro student and working with clients in ies major and did a one semester gram that joins local college stu our service office. Both Lia and Tif internship. Her project was devel dents with our community. Project fany are from Hunter College in oping and facilitating a series of S.H.A.R.E. (Students Helping And NYC. Sr. Breige is a MSW student workshops for the women in the Reaching Excellence) is our student from Fordham University. Sr. community that come to the Center. internship program. Our MSW, Briege is providing case manage Donna ContrerasAguirre, works ment with the families in the Hospi Students bring enthusiasm and with our students by providing su tality House Program. creativity to the Coalition. We find pervision and connecting what they the future hopeful as we see the learn in the classroom with their We have several Bachelors level compassion and commitment that work at the Coalition. Currently, students in the program as well: they have to help others. In 29 we have 6 students: Tiffany Starr, Kristen Wistuba and Brittani years the Coalition has pioneered Lia Del Priori and Sr. Briege Lav Goskins are BSW students from advocating for the homeless and ery are MSW students. Tiffany is Kean University. They are working near homeless. We are joyful to specializing in community organiz in the Service Office providing case pass this knowledge forward to new ing and was responsible for our an management. Estephany Diaz is a generations. We are looking for nual Service Fair in January and is BSW student from Rutgers and is ward to refining and expanding this currently working on two new pro learning case management as well. program. Last semester, Lesley Pesquera, WI NT E R 2 0 1 0 C O R NU C O P I A PAGE 5 In the Spirit of Dorothy Day By Kathleen Murphy The snow is still on the ground and and meeting the flesh and blood is needed to keep 7 families moving this Valentine’s Day is cold, but people who have made it a reality is towards self sufficiency. sunny. At Vincent’s house, deep in a much deeper experience. Also, the inner city in Elizabeth, NJ, we taking part in the traditional fund The spirit is one that embraces the are celebrating the holiday of love raising activities for this and other diversity of the families that share by keeping the families here warm Coalition programs has given me a the houses. So far, in the time that I and together. That is the miracle broader perspective about how gen have been At Vincent’s House, we that is the Elizabeth Coalition to erous people can be with their time have had a Puerto Rican single House the Homeless Hospitality and commitment. mother with her two daughters of Houses (HH), modeled after Doro mixed heritage, an African Ameri thy Day and the Catholic Worker I had the opportunity to meet the can single mother and her four Houses of Hospitality in New York DriscollKelly family, the first host daughters and a Colombian couple City in 1933. We are far in years family of the Hospitality House pro with two daughters and a baby boy. from that time, if not so far in gram, at one of these events. One of the biggest challenges is the miles, but the generosity of spirit in Emily, a small child back in 1986 sharing of space and melding vastly the people who hold the impulse to when she lived here, is a young different backgrounds. The most house those who have no roof over woman now. It was wonderful to beautiful part of the program is their heads is still alive and strong. hear the history of the house from watching the children embrace each The three families that have lived her perspective, reminiscing fondly other, literally and figuratively, and here in Vincent’s House since the about her childhood. build relationships that transcend reopening in October of 2009 have race and ethnic background. For the had the opportunity to live in a During renovation, I was able to adults, it is more challenging to beautiful house, thanks to the com tour the house while there was build the bridges that will eventu passionate gifts of many people. nothing but a shell. At that time, ally form community. Watching the there was an old and dusty picture children as they come to think of As the current host family in Vin of Jesus hanging on the studded this house as home is a most re cent’s House, renamed for St. Vin wall, with the name Camilla, the warding part of being a host family. cent de Paul after the renovation, I name of a child from a former host Actually, “Homing the Houseless “ have the remarkable opportunity to family, scrawled across the glass was the name of a past article about watch this ministry play out day frame. Each time we toured this transformation. after day. The beautifully reno through, I saw that the construction vated Vincent’s House was opened workers had left it hanging. After This process of forming community for occupancy on November 1, as the renovations were completed, reminds me of Dorothy Day, who the days were getting shorter and Camilla’s Jesus (as I like to call wrote in her journal in 1934, “For in cooler. I moved into my ground floor Him) was left on the window sill on spite of poverty there are many apartment with great anticipation. the porch. The picture still sits joys, little celebrations, birthday Shortly afterwards, two families of there, as a reminder of families and parties, weddings, feast days when single moms and 6 children moved children that have been blessed it is easy to be kind and to love one in. To say that my days and nights here before us. another, in spite of the closeness of were filled with the sound of patter our quarters, lack of privacy and ing feet would be an understate The current support system that the unevenness of many a temper ment. But to watch the children the families in all three HH’s share and temperament.” grow to care about each other and are the hard work and dedication of the mothers take on the extra role Sr. Maryanne Tracey, Sr. Breige Some of the shared activities in of caring for each other’s children Lavery and the host families. They which the families at Vincent’s was heartwarming. meet regularly with the HH fami house have participated were the lies to assist them to set goals and baking of Christmas Cookies and As a relatively new member of the develop the self confidence and snowman making. For Christmas, Coalition, one of the most exciting courage needed in the world today. the moms, their children and I did aspects of this opportunity is to Sr. Maryanne manages the HH some holiday baking. During the learn the moving history of this pro program, including volunteer coor last snowstorm, Juan Carlos, his gram a little at a time. Yes, I have dination, scheduling community children and the other children at read about the history on the Coali events for the families, physical tion website, but living in the house upkeep of the houses, and whatever (continued on page 7) PAGE 6 C O R NU C O P I A WI NT E R 2 0 1 0 The Christmas Project By Sister Mary Eleanor Thornton Every year St. Joseph Social Service sure everyone has the right gift and mous amount of time and planning. Center is so very grateful to St. when 2400 individual gift bags are All the donations must be sorted by Mary’s Church in Rahway for allow lined up numerically there is hardly type of toy, packed and brought to St. ing us to use their hall to pack our any room left to work. The volunteers Joseph’s. Adele Rielly, a long time Christmas gifts. We would never were tremendous, sacrificing their volunteer, helps coordinate this big have enough room at our center to do time and energy to make so many operation. A team of volunteers from this – the project has grown so very families happy on Christmas Day. Berkley Heights help sort toys with much. This year we packed over 430 Their patience and generosity were Jeanne DeSmet at her home. family bags with at least 2400 gifts in inspiring. We owe them a big debt of them. gratitude. Without all these dedicated, caring and generous volunteers as well as On December 1st, Sister Mary Elea Finally on the morning of December our generous donors, St. Joseph’s nor and her dedicated group of coordi 18th, 50 or more high school students could never begin to carry out projects nators, Sharon and Harold Kessler, from Roselle Catholic High School like these. Thank you. Pam Bonifacio, Cathy Maravitz, and came to help us. They lined up in the Shirley Virgili, plus an equally dedi hall, up the stairs and out to the On February 9th, we had a little cated group of volunteers, descended parking lot and began passing one ‘Thank you Supper’ for all the volun on Connell Hall and began to set up bag after the other until all 430 bags teers who came to help during the shop. Tables and shelves were set up; were lined up in order numerically busy Christmas season. Over 200 hundreds of boxes with new clothes outside. They then began again to volunteers had come to help. Not all were unpacked, sorted and organized load them on to a huge tractor trailer could attend the party but as we on the shelves; the Church “stalls” generously donated to us for the day closed with evening prayer, we were marked off so we could put the with two drivers by Ed Egan and his thanked God for sending us such good gifts coming from the various Fast Fleet Trucking Company. The people to help us in our ministry to churches and organizations in the truck then carried all these gifts to the community. On Christmas morn proper spaces. Signs were put up and St. Joseph’s where they were again ing, many a child and their parents the work began. For the next three unloaded, put into the small Church had warm, new clothes to bring weeks, day and night, weekends in and on Monday distributed by Sr. smiles to their faces thanks to our cluded, volunteers came and went, Jacinta to the people waiting pa wonderful volunteers and donors. each time working hard, putting the tiently in the long line outside. Next year, we hope to get more individual gifts in numerical order, shelves which we desperately need to checking them to make sure they Meanwhile, at other locations more were the right size, adding a few teams of volunteers coordinated other sort the clothes. If anyone reading parts of the St. Joseph’s Christmas this column knows any company that things, and finally, when they had a might donate strong portable shelves gift for each member of the family, distribution. During December the church building at St. Joseph’s is or clothing racks, we would be so bagging them in large bags, labeling grateful for them. God blessed the them with the family ID and tying transformed into organized chaos. them tightly. Churches and organiza Here, volunteers pack bags for senior project through so many good and citizens, individuals and couples generous people. Three cheers for tions kept sending the gifts they re volunteers!!! ceived through the giving tree. Many without children. Each item is care thanks for the invaluable help of Joe fully checked to make sure it is the Maruschak and his van who made right size and appropriate for the des daily runs to and from the churches ignated person. Then, volunteers add picking up the gifts. It was impera extra items like slippers, gloves and a tive that we get the gifts as quickly as small household or holiday item. Fi possible so that we could keep bag nally, a jar of delicious, homemade ging and meet our deadline of having cookies provided by Our Lady of the 430 family bags ready by Decem Peace Church in New Providence are ber 18th. On the night of December placed in each bag. 17th at 9 p.m. we packed the last of St. Joseph’s annual toy distribution is the bags and how we celebrated, another important part of the holi laughed and clapped with exhaustion, days at our Center– it takes an enor of course. It is a tedious task making WI NT E R 2 0 1 0 C O R NU C O P I A PAGE 7 In the Spirit of Dorothy Day (continued from page 5) By Kathleen Murphy Vincent’s house made a snowman. After the long winter, I am This was a unique experience for his hoping to plant a community family, as they had not had snow in garden. I, for one, am ready for Colombia. They made a lovely spring and enjoying the snowman on a table! outdoors at Vincent’s house. Our Wish List Fullsize bottles of shampoo, lotion and (demand for diapers has increased while bars of soap for families the amount of donations has decreased!) Disposable razors Toiletries for Operation Warm Heart participants Deodorant (men’s and women’s) Diapers– all sizes, especially large St. Joseph Social Service Center Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless NonProfit Org. 118 Division St. Elizabeth, NJ 07201 U.S. Postage PAID Permit No. 403 Elizabeth, NJ St. Joseph Social Service Center is a multi service organization providing assistance to the poor and homeless of Elizabeth. St. Joseph’s provides counseling, job training, weekly soup kitchen, food, clothing, medication and other necessities to the population it serves. The Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless is a service organization for the homeless fami lies and individuals of Union County. The Coali tion provides advocacy and assistance in finding shelter and permanent housing. The Coalition also has a children’s program and transitional housing program and offers community educa tion. St. Joseph Social Service Center and the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless need your financial support to continue our work. As government and private aid continue to shrink, donations are a large part of our budget. Your contribution will make a difference. Name: ___________________________________ Address: __________________________________ __________________________________ Phone number: ____________________________ ____ I would like to make a contribution to St. Joseph Social Service Center and the Elizabeth Coalition to House the Homeless. Enclosed is my contribution of: _____ $10 _____ $25 _____ $50 _____ $100 Please make your check payable to St. Joseph Social Service Center or the Elizabeth Coalition and send to: 118 Division St. / Elizabeth, NJ / 07201 ____ I cannot make a financial contribution but I would like to get more involved. Please keep me in formed about your activities and I’ll make a donation when I can.
Pages to are hidden for
"Honoring our Haitian Community"Please download to view full document