We will host our 10th annual Blessing of the Soil Event on Saturday, May 8th from 1:00-1:45pm. The event will take place on site at Catholic Charities in Haverstraw and will be live streamed on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CatholicCharity and new this year, on Instagram at the handle @catholiccharitiesrockland.
“This is always a wonderful way to welcome spring and bless the soil as we pray for a productive growing season. I am excited to be able to be in the garden this year with Monsignor Nevin while we host the event online which means even more people can enjoy the activities which will include a gardening and cooking segment,” stated Dan Eudene, Executive Director of Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland (CCCSR).
CCCSR has hosted this community event since 2011 and three years ago Archbishop Timothy Dolan was on hand to perform the actual blessing. CCCSR created a large garden on the side lawn of their location in Haverstraw where staff and volunteers oversee the growing of fresh vegetables for families and individuals who access the food pantry. It is also home to the only greenhouse on the site of a food pantry in the northeast.
The 45-minute event will feature a gardening segment hosted by Tivona Cunningham. “You can garden anywhere, in any space and there is such a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment in watching something you planted grow and flourish. It’s a great stress reliever as well,” stated Cunningham who grew up gardening with her grandfather in Texas and now carries on the tradition with her sister in their greenhouse in Putnam county.
The cooking segment will be hosted by Kevin Lynch of Lynch’s Restaurant in Stony Point who will demonstrate how to make a healthy dish using the vegetables in the CCCSR garden. “We are thrilled to be able to participate this year and show people how to make a healthy meal,” stated Kevin Lynch, owner of Lynch’s Restaurant and board member of CCCSR.
The sponsor of this year’s event is Rose & Kiernan, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of NFP Insurance. “For more than 145 years, Rose & Kiernan has been a leading general insurance agency in the Northeast, highly regarded for both our insurance expertise and our community involvement. As one of the state’s largest employee-owned businesses, our mission is to provide high-quality, reputable insurance products, bonds, employee benefits and risk management services to business and industry, individuals, and public and private organizations. We are proud to be involved with this special event for Catholic Charities in Rockland,” stated Robert J. Ranieri Jr., Vice President.
Catholic Charities Community Services of Rockland, The Warm Heart of Rockland, provides services to people of all ages, from every race and ethnic group from all over the County. The organization’s focus is to provide life necessities, including food, shelter, and other emergency assistance to those in need. The compassionate and professional staff speak English, Spanish, and French Creole, and assist people of all ages, races, and religions in Rockland County. CCCSR also runs the Warming Center for Rockland County during the colder months. More information can be found at www.ccsrockland.org or by calling (845) 942-5791. Those wishing to support the organization can donate on the website or text CCROCKLAND TO 21000.
Facts and Figures
In 2016, CCCSR served a total of 88,587 meals. That has increased every year since, and in 2020, the total number of meals served was 132,057, an increase of 30% over 2019. In 2020 CCCSR fed 7,768 adults, 1,219 elderly, and 5,686 children.
In 2019 CCCSR served 158 new families, in 2020 that number grew to 581 new families.
Each year more than 6,000 pounds of fresh produce is distributed to Food Pantry participants with 1,000 pounds from the on-site Community Garden of Love and the balance generously donated by Stokes Farm in Old Tappan.
More than 40 dedicated volunteers help to prepare, bag, and distribute food during the year.
Nearly 80% of funding for CCCSR comes from individuals and corporate sponsors in the Rockland area. Donations are always welcome by visiting www.cccsrockland.org
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