images/SrCarol-Ruff-sorts-clothing-2012.jpgSr. Carol Ruf sorts clothing. Sisters of Charity
Act to Aid Victims
of Superstorm
images/SrKarenHelfenstein-with-donated-items-2012.jpgSr. Karen Helfenstein packs donated items.

As the sun rose on October 30, 2012, news of the harrowing devastation caused by Superstorm Sandy and the suffering it so severely inflicted on our brothers and sisters began to spread. Staten Island, the entire Rockaway peninsula, Coney Island, Red Hook, Gravesend Bay, City Island, lower Manhattan, Nassau and Suffolk Counties, all suffered tremendous losses to property but even more devastating was the loss of life. Sandy claimed 43 lives in New York City, 23 of them on Staten Island.

Immediately upon learning of the devastation, Sr. Jane Iannucelli, President of the Sisters of Charity of New York, asked Sr. Donna Dodge to coordinate the Sisters of Charity response to aid those who were affected by the storm. A call went out to all sisters and associates requesting cash donations, which would be matched by the congregation. There was also a great need for various personal items such diapers, coats, socks, as well as cleaning supplies, garbage bags, batteries, flashlights, blankets, etc. The donations started to come in almost immediately and the Sisters of Charity Center in the Bronx and Seton Village in Nanuet were designated as collection sites for the supplies.

Associate Pat Flynn (l) and
Sr. Nancy McNamara
Donated goods
Sr. Maggie Kelly and Associate Bill Hurley

Sisters, associates, and Sisters of Charity staff quickly volunteered to sort the donated items and help with the distribution, an effort that was coordinated by Sr. Karen Helfenstein. Several volunteers came forward to drive the supplies to the primary receiving center for the Archdiocese of New York, located at building #7 at Mount Loretto in Staten Island. Contact was made with the Queens Congregations for United Action (QCUA), an interfaith coalition, which is coordinating relief efforts in the Rockaways, Howard Beach, and Broad Channel, and some of the supplies were delivered to their site. The St. Vincent de Paul Society of the Vincentian Family, located in the Diocese of Rockville Centre, accepted blankets, towels, bedding, and any clothing that the other sites could not use at the present time.

On November 14th, the Leadership Team informed sisters and associates that $10,000 was collected. Combined with a $6,000 donation, $26,000 will be distributed among Staten Island South Shore parishes, Mount Manresa Retreat Center, and St. Edward's Food Pantry, both on Staten Island, and the St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Shrine in lower Manhattan. While many New York areas were devastated by the storm, the Sisters of Charity chose to concentrate efforts in Staten Island because of the long history of service to that borough.

Staff from the Convent of
Mary the Queen
Donated supplies
Ellen Downey, SCNY Staff

As we continue on the long road to recovery in and around our beloved city, we ask our friends for their continued prayers and support for all victims of this tragedy, as we assure our brothers and sisters of our prayers as well.


Sisters of Charity Center
6301 Riverdale Avenue ~ Bronx, NY 10471-1093