Catholic Charities’ new outreach vehicle to serve rural areas
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.
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.