Catholic Char­i­ties’ new out­reach ve­hi­cle to serve ru­ral ar­eas

The Saratogian (Saratoga, NY) - - LOCAL NEWS - Staff re­port

CAP­I­TAL RE­GION, N.Y. >> Ac­cess to healthy, nu­tri­tious food is an ongoing chal­lenge for needy New York­ers in ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties, and the lack of good to pub­lic trans­porta­tion to food pantries and other sup­port­ive pro­grams only makes it worse.

It’s a one-two punch to too many in­di­vid­u­als, fam­i­lies and chil­dren.

A new ini­tia­tive from Catholic Char­i­ties of the Dio­cese of Al­bany will help address that.

Together with part­ner St. Mary’s Health­care, CDPHP, and the Re­gional Food Bank of North­east­ern NY, Catholic Char­i­ties for­mally launched its Mo­bile Out­reach Ve­hi­cle Ex­ten­sion – bet­ter known as CC MOVE. The mo­bile ini­tia­tive – the first of its kind in the history of Catholic Char­i­ties – will iden­tify and address gaps in services across the re­gion.

A rib­bon cut­ting and bless­ing of the CC MOVE RV took place at Cen­tro Civico, a com­mu­nity-based non-profit that helps people with health care, ed­u­ca­tion, im­mi­gra­tion and cit­i­zen­ship, hous­ing, recre­ation and af­ter-school pro­grams.

“With CC MOVE and the CC MOVE RV, Catholic Char­i­ties is ad­dress­ing very real needs in the ru­ral ar­eas of our Dio­cese,” Vin­cent W. Colonno, CEO of Catholic Char­i­ties of the Dio­cese of Al­bany said.

“I am in­cred­i­bly proud of our staff, vol­un­teers, and com­mu­nity part­ners who have come together to make this ini­tia­tive pos­si­ble. They’ve al­lowed us to bet­ter con­nect to the com­mu­nity and pro­vide the services that in­di­vid­u­als liv­ing in food deserts and other ru­ral re­gions re­ally need,” Colonno added.

“There’s not enough in­come in the house­hold, and people need food. I have a young boy, and this is a help,” said Lisa (last name with­held), who re­ceived services through CC MOVE in Am­s­ter­dam dur­ing the pro­gram’s pi­lot year.

The CC MOVE RV will pro­vide a place for case work and med­i­cal screen­ings, among other out­reach services, and will bring much-needed sup­port to res­i­dents in ru­ral ar­eas who would oth­er­wise have lim­ited ac­cess to pro­grams and re­sources.

Catholic Char­i­ties and St. Mary’s Health­care in Am­s­ter­dam have been pi­lot­ing the pro­gram in Ful­ton and Mont­gomery coun­ties over the last year. With the help of the Re­gional Food Bank of North­east­ern NY, they’ve iden­ti­fied lo­cal “food deserts,” or­ga­niz­ing mass food dis­tri­bu­tions and health fairs in ar­eas with lim­ited ac­cess to healthy and nu­tri­tious food. Vis­i­tors were con­nected to other avail­able re­sources and re­ceived in­for­ma­tion on how to sched­ule an ap­point­ment for mo­bile case man­age­ment.

Spon­sor CDPHP has taken an ac­tive role in CC MOVE health fairs and food dis­tri­bu­tions dur­ing the pro­gram’s pi­lot year, along with com­mu­nity part­ners Cen­tro Civico and Cre­ative Con­nec­tions Club­house in Am­s­ter­dam.

The Dio­cese of Al­bany is largely a ru­ral re­gion, span­ning more than 10,000 square miles across 14 coun­ties. More than 34,000 of the in­di­vid­u­als Catholic

Char­i­ties serves each year re­side in ru­ral coun­ties. CC MOVE will bet­ter iden­tify and address gaps in services across the re­gion.

“The part­ner­ship be­tween St. Mary’s Health­care and CC MOVE be­gan with a short phone con­ver­sa­tion about food in­se­cu­rity be­tween two Sis­ters of St. Joseph of Caron­delet, Sr. Betsy Van Deusen (Catholic Char­i­ties’ Di­rec­tor of Com­mu­nity Part­ner­ships) and Sr. Joan Mary Har­ti­gan (St. Mary’s Health­care Chief Mis­sion Of­fi­cer). It has grown into a great col­lab­o­ra­tion among many mis­sion-driven or­ga­ni­za­tions in our re­gion who serve our poor and vul­ner­a­ble neigh­bors. St. Mary’s is hon­ored to be part of this col­lab­o­ra­tion through de­liv­er­ing health services and vol­un­teer­ing to serve food each month,” Vic Gi­u­lianelli, Pres­i­dent and CEO of St. Mary’s Health­care, said.

“We’re thrilled to sup­port Catholic Char­i­ties’ CC MOVE pro­gram, pro­vid­ing crit­i­cal mo­bile out­reach services to Am­s­ter­dam, Fort Plain, and John­stown. This new re­source will un­doubt­edly im­prove the over­all health and well­be­ing of the in­di­vid­u­als re­sid­ing within th­ese com­mu­ni­ties,” John D. Ben­nett, MD, pres­i­dent and CEO of CDPHP, com­mented.

“Catholic Char­i­ties has done tremen­dous work for our com­mu­ni­ties by pro­vid­ing in­valu­able sup­port to people in need of a help­ing hand. Now, with its new mo­bile unit, CC MOVE, the or­ga­ni­za­tion can bring much­needed services to people who may not be able to ac­cess them oth­er­wise. Over the last year, Catholic Char­i­ties has brought food, case man­age­ment and health services to more than 2,000 men and women in ru­ral ar­eas. Its suc­cess­ful launch in Ful­ton and Mont­gomery coun­ties makes me con­fi­dent that Catholic Char­i­ties will con­tinue mak­ing a dif­fer­ence in our re­gion. I want to thank them for their com­mend­able work and all that they do for our most vul­ner­a­ble,” As­sem­bly­man An­gelo Santabar­bara (D-Mont­gomery-Schoharie-Sch­enec­tady), stated.

“CC MOVE is the best ex­am­ple of com­mu­nity or­ga­ni­za­tions com­ing together to make a dif­fer­ence! Due to eco­nomic chal­lenges that many mem­bers of our com­mu­nity face, this is a gen­tle and re­spect­ful way of sup­port­ing and re­spond­ing to the fam­i­lies and chil­dren in our com­mu­nity. We ap­plaud the lead­er­ship of Catholic Char­i­ties and Wil­helmina Mur­ray-Davis, Catholic Char­i­ties’ Di­rec­tor of Dis­as­ter & Com­mu­nity Ser­vice,” Ladan Alo­mar, Di­rec­tor of Cen­tro Civico, re­marked.

“Th­ese events are help­ful, es­pe­cially around the hol­i­day season, with the weather and the high price of heat. CC MOVE helps to al­le­vi­ate some of prob­lems that fam­i­lies have. It takes a com­mu­nity to come together, and the food drops show that all lo­cal agen­cies re­ally care about the in­di­vid­u­als in our com­mu­nity,” John Sumpter, Out­reach Di­rec­tor at Cre­ative Con­nec­tions Club­house, added.

PRO­VIDED PHOTO

Catholic Char­i­ties of the Dio­cese of Al­bany cel­e­brated the launch and rib­bon cut­ting of its new CC MOVE RV. From left: Rochelle Toomer of Catholic Char­i­ties, Vic Gi­u­lianelli, Pres­i­dent and CEO of St. Mary’s Health­care, Sheila Nel­son, Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent of State Pro­grams at CDPHP, Ladan Alo­mar, Di­rec­tor of Cen­tro Civico, As­sem­bly­man An­gelo Santabar­bara (D-Mont­gomery-Schoharie-Sch­enec­tady), Wil­helmina Mur­ray-Davis, Di­rec­tor of Dis­as­ter & Com­mu­nity Services for Catholic Char­i­ties, Vin­cent W. Colonno, CEO of Catholic Char­i­ties of the Dio­cese of Al­bany, and Com­mis­sioner Michael McMahon of Mont­gomery County Depart­ment of So­cial Services.

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