Institute for Peace and Justice
Emily Horowitz (Director)
Arnold Sparr (Assistant Director)
The Institute for Peace and Justice works in collaboration with Catholic Charities of Brooklyn and Queens. Together, both organizations seek to promote awareness about social justice and the theory and practice of Catholic Social Teaching.
Donate to victims of Hurricane Sandy via Catholic Charities. Catholic Charities is leading a major relief effort in Brooklyn and Queens to help Sandy victims. In addition, Catholic Charities continues to help the poor and needy in a variety of ways. Volunteer with Catholic Charities and help Sandy victims and/or all those in need.
20 Facts About U.S. Inequality that Everyone Should Know
From the Stanford University Center on Poverty and Inequality
Key Trends in American Poverty and Inequality
From the Institute for Research on Poverty University of Wisconsin–Madison
Members of the Insitute for Peace and Justice attending the march against police brutlaity in Washington, DC on December 13, 2014.
For Students And Community Members To Work Towards Peace & Justice
Saints Joachim & Anne Nursing & Rehabilitation Center
SFC students volunteered at Saints Joachim & Anne Nursing & Rehabilitation Center to clean up shrubs that a were destroyed after Hurricane Sandy more than a year earlier. The project cleaned up the main entrance to the facility and will allow them to replant new flowers.
Day Of Service
NY1 reported on the Day of Service held by the Institute for Peace and Justice, in collaboration with Catholic Charities, on Saturday, March 2, 2013. The group traveled to a Senior Center in Williamsburg, Brooklyn to spend the day refurbishing and organizing it's library.
All supplies were donated by The Home Depot and as a thank-you, the senior citizens at the center prepared lunch for all of the volunteers.
To work with formerly incarcerated mothers and/or children with incarcerated mothers, contact Kellie Phelan at Hour Children. Hour Children is a non-profit organization dedicated to helping incarcerated and formerly incarcerated women rejoin the community, reunify with their families, and build healthy, independent, and secure lives. To accomplish this, Hour Children provides compassionate and comprehensive services that include housing and child care and the opportunity for women to complete their education, obtain marketable job skills, and learn home and financial management skills. More information on the organization’s goals and programs is available at http://hourchildren.org.
Members of the St. Francis community interested in volunteering at Hour Children should contact Kellie Phelen at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professor Horowitz will take a group of St. Francis College students each month to work in the thrift shop to benefit Hour Children. If you are interested in joining the group, please contact Prof. Horowitz at email@example.com.
Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen
Meet at the Catholic Worker Soup Kitchen weekday mornings at 9am to help prepare and serve meals to the homeless.
36 East 1st Street
New York, NY
The goal of the center will be to link the St. Francis College community to the larger activist work of Catholic Charities and other community-based organizations in a collective effort to promote peace and social justice.
Questions to be addressed by the Institute:
- How does Catholic Social Teaching relate to the social problems of the 21st century?
- How can we begin to eliminate poverty and promote economic and social justice?
- How can we increase dialogue, conversation, and commitment among students, community members, and religious leaders so that we can promote social justice and actively fight poverty?
- How can we work to make our voice heard in the conversations about policy and politics so that we can promote anti-poverty policies and social justice in a concrete and forceful way?
- What specific acts can we engage in as an academic community to promote social justice and fight poverty?
- Develop academic and cultural programs for St. Francis and the larger community;
- Develop curriculum and offer educational programs, events, and panels for students and the larger community;
- Develop research and reflection on Catholic Social Teaching, social justice, poverty, advocacy;
- Connect with informal groups like the New York Catholic Worker community so that our students and community can learn about ways to actively and individually promote social justice outside of mainstream service organizations;
- Analyze ways to fight poverty and to develop specific policies and programs to help the poor and needy in specific and concrete ways;
- Develop and promote events, forums, panels and conferences emphasizing social justice and human rights open to the community, the Church, political figures and organizations as well social service providers and policymakers;
- Seek outside funding, with the help of a board of directors and fundraising events, to achieve goals and to enlarge the Center; and
- Promote an ongoing interest in social justice for our students and the community.
The Center will house the new National Center for the Study of Prison Photography. The U.S. prison system may also be the largest photography “system” in America: virtually every prison in America allows prisoner created photographic portraits, taken by prisoners, of prisoners and featuring prisoner created photographic backdrops. The resulting portraits are the preferred method prisoners have for communicating with families and friends, and may number in the millions.
This Center will be the first academic center for the study of this vast, but mostly unknown, photography system. It is composed of a multidisciplinary team of scholars, from the fields of: Sociology, Criminology, Art Theory, and Economics, as well as practitioners from several state corrections department and a prisoner rights group.
The activities of the center include a fast growing archive of original prisoner portraits as well as original painted backdrops which have been donated by some of our correctional partners. Other activities include scholarly meetings and panels as well as lectures by artists with a background in the specialty fields of conceptual photography and social practice interventions. Most of the activities of the center are not open to the media and are restricted to scholars and researchers. However, the center will be hosting its first ever public chapter meeting at the upcoming American Society for Criminology (ASC) conference in Chicago in November 2012 where we will present some of our archive and research. We are interested in collaborating with scholars from many fields, and hope to forge research partnerships at the ASC. The Center has already elicited media coverage in the following publications:
On October 10, 2013, our sociology class visited CHiPS with our professor, Dr. Emily Horowitz. CHiPS is soup kitchen in Park Slope, Brooklyn, that also provides clothing to the needy and homeless as well as shelter to a small group of women who are pregnant and/or have very young children. The purpose of the trip was twofold: first, we hoped to interact and meet with those who benefit from CHiPS services, and second, to figure out to help raise money and awareness about this vital community resource. Park Slope, Brooklyn, is known to be a place of affluence, yet there is still a substantial population in the surrounding communities who need help from resources like CHiPS. The stories below are based on our interviews with those who utilize and help run CHiPS. CHiPS is facing a financial crisis, and might soon have to close down. We hope these stories inspire you to donate money, time, or food/clothing to CHiPS. Here is a link for you to donate, and thank you for reading our stories.
CHiPS is located at 200 4th Avenue, Brooklyn, NY, 11217
-- The students in Sociology of Minority Groups with Dr. Emily Horowitz, St. Francis College (Brooklyn, NY), Fall 2013
A few of the students in our class with Brother Michael (soup kitchen volunteer) and a CHiPS client (center front).
Jose is a man who lives in Brooklyn, NY. He attends Chips every day they are open, which is 6 days a week. Jose explained he has made many friends at Chips. He likes to help out and make sure everyone feels safe and has a good meal. He has been coming to Chips for two years ever since he lost his job, his girlfriend, mother and father. Jose explained that he gets $86 of food stamps a month, but it is not enough to last him the entire month. He said he comes to Chips weather he is hungry or not. Jose spoke about the staff and volunteers at Chip and how he greatly appreciated them. He loves how they treat him with respect and make him feel comfortable. “ You have a place to come to where they don’t judge you, why wouldn’t you want to come here?” says Jose. Jose’s favorite meal from Chips is the Mac and Cheese.
Written by Stephanie Lugo & Shola Henry- See more at: http://www.sfc.edu/fs/pages/drafts/336?#sthash.AJo...
Everyone Meet Christine! She was born on January 20, 1964. She is of Irish and Scottish descent; her mother being Irish and her late father having been Scottish. She is currently single and has never been married, although she has two adult children and one granddaughter the age of five. She enjoys reading and just like me, she is a huge Michael Jackson fan. She volunteers at CHiPS and hopes to be employed by them soon so she can live independently again. She is currently living in a single women’s shelter, she has been living there for the past 12 months. Before living in the shelter she used to own her own apartment where she lived with her children who were at the ages of 14 and 10, until a car accident left her disabled and unable to work. She has applied for welfare numerous times, but does not get a response. She was not able to pay any of her bills so her children were sent to live with her mother. Although the past 10 years of her life has been rough, she is still very optimistic about the future and hopes “to find a job that I know how to do, and be good at it”. She enjoys visiting her mother two or three times a week and when she’s not visiting her mother, you can find her on Tuesdays and Thursdays at CHiPS, as she puts it “doing something good”.
Written by Ashley Henry
The man that I interviewed while at CHiPS named was Larry and I talked to him about his experience at CHIPS, and his life. Larry is 64 years old and is from Brooklyn; he grew up in a religious family, but throughout the 1980s he lost the church going and religious ways to drugs. During the interview Larry talks about how he used all types of drugs from coke to weed where throughout the whole 80s and some of the 90s till he got clean in 1995 almost 20 years ago. Now in this day and age the only thing that Larry does is drink and smokes cigarettes. Larry has found god once again and devotes his time into the church where he helps out at. He has been going to CHIPS for the last 7 years, because he doesn’t have a place to cook food or have the money, and he feels it is the best soup kitchen out of all the other kitchens but they can’t compare. Over the years Larry feels that CHIPS has gotten better the service is always good, plus the food is better cooked.
Written by Raheem Bartholemew
Howard was born and raised in Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, and graduated from South Shore High School in 1967. His family no longer lives in Brooklyn, and he has no contact with them. He visits the soup kitchen to have a warm meal and get clean clothes. He is unemployed, and sees no prospect for employment.
He used to have his own business, tinting car windows. He has struggled with drugs in the past, and has a criminal conviction for burglary, but he has been clean and sober for over a year. He says, “I feel hopeless. Who would ever hire someone like me?” He hopes to save enough money to get his driver’s license so he can return to work in the car window-tinting business. He admits he has a difficult personality, and has trouble keeping jobs due to his inability to get along with persons of authority.- See more at: http://www.sfc.edu/fs/pages/drafts/336?#sthash.AJo...
Mickey was hit by a vehicle while riding his bicycle and broke his ribs. He takes very expensive pain medication and has yet to heal physically from this injury. He walks 6 days a week to chips for most of his meals, if not all of his meals. “You know food stamps are not enough to survive” he says, “…CHiPS is a god-sent, if it wasn’t for CHiPS, I’d be in trouble”. Mickey is an avid writer and poet, who has also written a letter to the President of the United States, and was kind enough to write a poem to thank the volunteers of CHiPS. (See below).
Written by Ivette Soriano
Pictured above is a poem written by Mickey about the volunteers at CHiPS
John was born and raised in Bensonhurst, Brooklyn. He was raised in an unstable environment along with his younger brother. John comes to CHiPS every day since the beginning of the summer with his brother for about 40 minutes to have a fulfilling meal and take some donated clothes to stay warm. The soup kitchen allows for him to have seconds and take any leftover food. For John, coming to the kitchen is necessary for his survival because it is his only source of food. After he leaves CHiPS he and his brother go to the park where they read and sleep. His only source of income is collecting bottles, which is how he spends most of his time.
Written by Brittany Cardinale
This is Ms. Ros who works at CHIPS for a small stipend as part of a work program but who stays longer than required because she likes it there. She said, “This place is a blessing to the community. They make you feel like a person.” She believes CHIPS is like a neighborhood institution almost like a landmark and it is needed especially for the pregnant ladies upstairs. She said “It’s nice here, I like it here, it’s pleasant. It makes me feel good within to help out here and I am use to being here.” She also pointed out that the food here is good and it’s free where as other places charge $1.25 and the food isn’t that good. If CHIPS were to close she would feel a deep disappointment. Her dream is to one day own a piece of land to raise chickens and sell eggs out front.
Written by Felicia Alexander
This is Denise Scaravella. She is the Executive Director of CHIPS (Park Slope Christian Help Inc.). She has spent the last 20 years of her life working to help combat homelessness and hunger in New York City. Denise used to work for Homes for the Homeless; she is also a nutritionist. She’s been with CHIPS for the past two years now and loves her job. Denise was happy to talk about the good work CHIPS does as well as what they need to remain an operating service to the community. Last year CHIPS serves 93,000 meals and sheltered nine young mothers along with their infants. Most of the food used at CHIPS is donated by the Park Slope Food Coop, about 80%, the other 20% is donated for local restaurants and food grants for City Harvest Food Bank of New York. Although CHIPS is able to serve the people who need their services, recently CHIPS has been having a financially hard time keeping its doors open to serve the community due to a lack of funding for things like utilities and staff. CHIPS used to be able to provide housing to young mothers and their children for $350 dollars a month but the cost of this housing recently has recently gone up. CHIPS used to have seven employees and now there are only two, Denise and a maintenance man; CHIPS currently is pretty much a volunteered based operation. Even with the cutbacks Denise say that CHIPS still needs money to pay the bills. One thing that they are doing to raise money is a Restaurant Night on Tuesday, October 29th , it’s a fundraiser where one goes out to eat to a participating restaurant and they will donate 15% of the check from ones dinner to CHIPS.
Written by Corey Wright
Before entering Chips Soup Kitchen, I was extremely nervous and scared. I didn’t want to ask my candidate the wrong questions and get them upset. I was paired up with a 56 year old Caucasian man, Carl. He started off the interview by telling me he was a student at St. Francis College in 1979. He attended our college with dreams and aspirations of becoming a nurse. After one year, he decided to drop out. School was way too difficult for him to continue. For the past 15 years, Carl has earned his living by painting houses. Surprisingly he is not homeless but he did share with me that he receives two hundred dollars’ worth of food stamps every month. For the past six months, Carl has been coming to Chips only to socialize with other individuals. He is extremely lonely since his wife passed away of heart disease, ten years ago. He loves playing the guitar in his free time and exploring new neighborhoods.
Written by Lauren Sanseverino
Anderson is 32 years old was born and raised in Haiti. He came to America two years ago with no college or high school degree. Anderson used to live with his wife and two year old son, but due to arguments over money and him losing his job, he was forced to leave his family and live on the streets on his own. Anderson’s passion is art, and used to work odd jobs with kids, dealing with art and crafts. Anderson has come to CHiPS on a few occasions but does not feel comfortable coming a lot because he feels like he is abusing the system. He is currently living on the street and every day looking for the next opportunity, to find work. His passion is art, he has been doing it for 15 years and hopes one day to find a job in that field.
Written by Frantz Jeudy and Anthony Szkola
I had the pleasure of interviewing Lucy. She was 68 years old, and one of the eldest of the volunteers. When I asked how she became involved in CHiPS, she told me that she heard about it from her church in the Bay Ridge neighborhood of Brooklyn. She is unemployed, and became involved to do something for the community. She said that an announcement was made in the church, and she registered to volunteer. She explained how she had to go into Manhattan to take a test in order to volunteer, and how she has been volunteering for six years. She also told me that she was to be given an award. Lucy also mentioned that she was on her feet for hours a day; something many volunteers couldn’t handle and something she was shocked she could do.
Written by Vincent Lois
Dora is a volunteer at CHIPS Soup Kitchen. She shed some light on what its like to work at a soup kitchen. She has been volunteering at CHIPS for two and a half months. She loves helping the community and giving back to those who are less fortunate than she is. According to Dora, the Soup Kitchen offers a good variety of food. Everything to eat is fresh and healthy. Fruits and vegetables are served on a daily basis. The Soup Kitchen is so organized that they actually have a schedule for serving food. From 11:30 to 1:30 they serve hot lunch and from 1:30 to 3:30 sandwiches are made and distributed. Dora says that they receive about 200 walk-ins on busy days; that is a fairly large number of people they are helping. There not one type of person that goes here. Dora knows a doctor who often visits and picks himself lunch everyday; it allows him to save money. Chips Soup Kitchen also offers additional services. They have racks of clothing provided by the public as donations that any client can use.
Written by Wendyadalys Diaz & Michael Aboulleit
Simon is a Haitian who migrated to America over ten years ago looking for a better future. He currently resides in Long Island with his family but travels to the soup kitchen after losing his job a couple of months ago. He spends most of his morning trying to find a new job but tells us that since he unfortunately lost his wallet with his green card and documentation it is extremely difficult for him to find a new job. Simon visits the soup kitchen daily to be less of a burden on his family who already works and tells us that he enjoys not only the food but to talk with other people who make use of the soup kitchen. Simon also shared with us how he has four children back at home in Haiti, his oldest daughter is 20 years old and his other children are 15 ,10 and 2 years old. Simon expressed his frustration with us of how since he is out of a job he cannot support his kids financially and his mother is the one helping support his children until he can get another job. Simon surprised us by telling us how his eldest daughter Fava is actually a second year college student is Cuba, he is extremely proud of her and hope his kids are able to have the same opportunity she has when they are older. Simon hopes that sooner or later he will land a job and although he enjoys the soup kitchen because of not only the nutritious food and all the wonderful people who are there he is eager to be able to provide for his kids.
Rodney has been going to CHiPS for about 3 months. Before visiting the CHiPS, he used to go to other soup kitchens but he has now decided to go to CHiPS because it has better food and he does not have much money and he needs free food. He still visits the soup kitchen even when he has some money so he can save as much money as he can. He enjoys the atmosphere in the kitchen and says, "I am impressed with the workers for treating me so well." He also said the workers treat him well because they serve him a variety of foods and they give him as much food as he wants so he can be satisfied.
Written by Andrew Chan
Armando is from the Bronx and works at a liquor store. He is not married and has 4 children. He goes to a trade school and is studying maintenance. He goes every day to chips to have lunch. CHiPs for Armando is “a great place for people who are going through hard times, don’t have opportunities and food for themselves, it’s for those out here in the streets.”
William is currently 54 years old. He was born in North Carolina in October of 1959. He moved to Brooklyn with his mom when he was three. He graduated High School, as well as one semester in Community College. He is present at CHiPs anywhere from two to five days a week. He has been a regular at CHiPs for almost two years now, and is currently unemployed with no desire to find work. He views himself as a “street person”, and calls his means to surviving “hustling”. Upon asking what he would change about his life, he answered, “If I didn’t hang out with the wrong people growing up, I wouldn’t have committed that Burglary, as well as getting addicted to drugs.” He used to attend the Drug, Alcohol Rehab Center in hopes to start changing his life.
Written by Alan Walpin and Steven Konikoff
Last Thursday, September 10, 2013, I met with some women who were living in the shelter above the CHIPS Soup Kitchen. There, I met several women, with children, who were striving for a job, food, and money. One woman made a significant impact on me as I heard her story. Debbie was a woman who was a victim of domestic violence, with a three-year-old son. She was raised in the Bronx, but from Long Island. Debbie, unfortunately, didn’t finish high school like she dreamed of. She had a rough history consisting of being a victim of human trafficking. She was also involved in the Long Island Serial Killer’s story as he killed 14 victims, one of them being her best friend, Melissa. There is a novel called, the lost girls, by author, Robert Kolker. He has two chapters based on Debbie and how she was a main figure in Melissa’s life. Debbie strives for independence and freedom from the cruel and horrid life New York has brought her. She is moving to Puerto Rico in the next few months to regain the sense of independence she has been striving for. Debbie’s advice to young women everywhere, “Finish school! Don’t get married young, and reach your goals; don’t ever let anyone stop you!”
Written by Juliette Khalil
(Below: photo of Gilberto with student St. Francis College student Rene Brown).
Joseph uses Chips free dinning services daily. He explained that he like Chips more than any other free meal service he has attended because of their no limit policy. Joseph can eat as much as he likes until he is full. He and his brother receive 200 dollars on food stamps a month. Joseph says this is not enough to last him through the month and he doesn't know what he would do if chips did not exist. He had been attending chips for a year now and before that he had been going to food pantries and a soup kitchen in Coney Island. Joseph disliked his previous soup kitchen because it had different locations in the community for different days. He likes the consistency of Chips same time and place, Monday to Saturday 1120-120. He loves the service at Chips referring to them as "very accommodating, kind, and caring ". The pasta he had the day of the interview is his favorite dish. We asked Joseph how would his life be without chips? Joseph said it would be a lot harder to find other places to get food.
Written Stephanie Lugo & Shola Henry
Kaie originally from Trinidad, came to Brooklyn 30 years ago. She attended Adelphi University as a Sociology major and received her bachelor’s degree in sociology. She then went on to work for a Fortune 500 company as a customer service representative. Up until July 2013 she was still working for this Fortune 500 Company when she was laid off. Kaie now resides in the Bronx but was reluctant of telling us whether or not she was homeless. Kaie said that she comes to Chips every day. However, because she does not have any money she gets around on the subway by asking others for an "extra swipe" of their metro cards. Kaie told us that by being in this situation she has learned to be much more resourceful, she now relies completely on her survival skills and prayer to get by.
Merlene was not as informative as Kaie, but very comical. This helped to show the different types of people who go to Chips. When we asked Merlene if she had gone to school she replied " I'm in school right now, Life is a school". Merlene did not seem to be as self-sufficient as Kaie, even though they were both dependent on the soup kitchen I feel that Kaie is more resourceful.
Written by Michael Howe and Anthony Puccio
Nicki, a 24-year-old single mother of a two-month-old newborn lives in the women’s shelter above the soup kitchen CHiPS. A former City Tech student with her associate’s degree in Human Services, she took a break from school to focus on her work in Community Inclusions with disabled adults. When she got pregnant it became more difficult to work and was soon laid off. Nicki found that unemployment wasn’t enough and soon found herself living on the couches of some friends. “Being pregnant and on a friend’s couch isn’t comfortable,” so she found that a shelter was a better alternative. She says that she found CHiPS on Google while searching up “maternity shelters.” The women at this shelter have one year to get on their feet but Nicki says, “May 20th, the goal is to get out before then.” She aspires to have her own agency one day working with the youth, and she realizes she needs a master’s degree to do so. Nicki declined to be photographed.
Written by LisaMarie Hernandez
Today I had the pleasure of interviewing a forty eight-year-old African American gentlemen named Michael, a self described loner. Michael tells me that he is a born and raised Brooklynite from Flatbush. He currently resides in the Bed-Stuy section living with family members. When asked about CHiPs he described it as a ‘’beautiful thing, people are helping people man’’, he went on to tell me that he got turned on to CHiPs by a friend of his who had been going there for a few months. Campbell describes the people and staff at CHiPs as ‘’friendly nice and supportive, they make you feel good’’, when asked about the food he rolled his eyes a little bit and made a remark about how its hot food. I asked Campbell how he felt about the gentrification of Bed-Stuy, he described to me that how he sees Brooklyn is that its always in a state of flux, constantly changing for the better. After building up some audacity I asked him how he ended up coming to a soup kitchen and what he does for work. He stated that due to deaths in the family and some ‘’trouble’’ he ended up on the streets of Brooklyn to fend for himself, mainly doing odd jobs to get some sort of revenue. When work dries up he says ‘’Just because I don’t have a job I ain’t gonna do anything dangerous to make ends meet’’. After talking about the solemn topics I asked him his interests, he informed me that he loves music. Through the entire interview Campbell was open to any inquiry and seemed at harmony here at CHiPS. There was an astonishing Atmosphere at CHiPs it was amazing to see people who are down and out opening up to a group of random college students. When I was originally assigned this project I thought it was kind of patronizing; asking a stranger in a soup kitchen inquiries about their lives and how they ended up there, I figured we would be met with resentment and cold shoulders. That was not the case at all.
Written by Oliver Monck
Brother Michael volunteers at CHIPS twice a week. During our brief interview he shared a lot of the kitchens history with us. The program began in 1978 by the Neighborhood Board of Trusties (an outreach of St Francis Avery Church), which rented the soup kitchen that also operated as a shelter at night, for about 10 years. Later the outreach purchased the building. The kitchen is open Monday thru Friday from 11:30- 1pm. On Fridays those that use the kitchen are provided with food to last them throughout the weekend. On average the kitchen provides 150-200 people with meals a day. These people are of all races. They are black, white, Asian and Hispanic. "Poverty doesn’t know color". 1/3 of those that come to CHIPS are the elderly trying to survive off social security, 1/3 are out of work and unemployed but they are not homeless and 1/3 are on the edge of being homeless because of struggles related to drug and alcohol addiction. The upper part of the building was converted into studio apartments for young single mothers and their children. They are given help with job search and education. The mothers and their children are given board for one full year, after their time has expired they are encourage to reintegrate back into society independently.
Brother Michael stated, “As a Christian it is my duty to help the poor”. CHIPS is open to all forms of donations. The Park Slope Food Co-Ops is their biggest supporter. However, low funds led to 70% of the staff being laid off and the kitchen relies heavily on volunteers in order to continue running. The kitchen is in great need of food donations as well as clothing (mostly for the men that use the kitchens service). (Pictured above: Brother Michael with St. Francis College students Crystal White and Susette Holman)
Written by Susette Holman and Crystal White