LEFSA NEWS

Check this page regularly for news and updates from the LEFSA Community!

LEFSA’s Annual Women’s Retreat

Twenty-two women attended LEFSA’s annual women’s retreat at Mariandale Retreat Center, which took place from May 13-15. The three-day retreat gives participants an opportunity to renew the body, mind, and spirit and to build community with other participants. LEFSA Team Members facilitate all of the sessions, around themes including Fruits of the Spirit, Accomplishments, and […]

Readings of Sacred Shelter

Here is a list of upcoming readings of Sacred Shelter: Thirteen Journeys of Homelessness and Healing that are open to the public. New York Society for Ethical Culture — Thurs, May 30th, 7 to 830 PM – 2 West 64th Street (at Central Park West) Midtown South Community Council – Tuesday, June 18th – 6 […]

LEFSA at the United Nations

LEFSA is a member of NGO Working Group to End Homelessness, which works with the United Nations to advocate for policy changes on a local and global scale. The United Nations is currently conducting the 57th session of the Commission for Social Development: Addressing inequalities and challenges to social inclusion through fiscal, wage and social […]

Leadership Study Day and Talent Show

On Saturday, February 9, 2019, LEFSA hosted a Leadership Study Day at St. Francis of Assisi Church, San Damiano Hall.  The theme for the Day was “Extending the Reign of God through Freedom and Equality: Black History Month Celebration.” Talent Show This year we also hosted our second annual Talent Show.  The turnout and the […]

5th annual Super Bowl Party

On February 4, LEFSA hosted our fifth annual Super Bowl Party at St. Jean’s Church Community Center.  The event began at 5 PM and about 100 LEFSA community members attended.  During the event, we provided a meal of hot dogs, sausages, chili, chips, and soda.  It was a wonderful event that brought together many people.  […]

We’re Getting Ready for LEFSA’s Annual Super Bowl Party

The first annual Super Bowl Party took place in 2014. It started with a focus on inviting people who are still living on the streets and providing them with a safe, warm and welcoming environment to watch the game. With this big sporting event upon us, it’s important to remember that not everyone has a […]

December Toiletry Drives

Thank you to Carl and Tiffany Petrus for organizing a toiletry drive and to all who have contributed! We received a variety of toiletry products in the month of December. LEFSA volunteers created wonderful packages that can be easily distributed among people living on the streets and during shelter gatherings. We accept new toiletries on […]

LEFSA’s Christmas Party

On Saturday, December 15 LEFSA hosted our annual Christmas Party. The event started at 10 a.m. with gift-giving.  Three separate tables were set up, with children’s toys, men’s gifts, and women’s gifts.  We received a large donation of wonderful toys for children of various ages, and there were countless children in attendance that day.  We […]

Getting Ready for the Big Day!

Getting ready for the big day tomorrow! We are preparing Christmas stocking for kids with candy and fruit, and making bags of Christmas cookies for everyone! We are expecting 300 people to attend our annual Christmas Party and LEFSA team has been working tirelessly to make this a beautiful event!

Fordham University Hosts "Sacred Shelter" Launch Party

The Sacred Shelter book launch party was held on December 4, 2018, at Fordham University, Lincoln Center. The room was full, standing room only, with an estimated 200 people attending the launch. The crowd was welcomed by the president of Fordham University, Fr. Joseph M. McShane, S.J., and Director of Catholic Charities, Msgr. Kevin Sullivan. […]

LEFSA Team Members Featured in Sacred Shelter

“Homelessness is not hopelessness–at least for the thirteen individuals whose stories are told in Sacred Shelter. Personal empowerment; supportive community; God’s gracious presence are highlighted as key to these stories of transformation and growth.” —Msgr. Kevin Sullivan, Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of New York In a metropolis like New York, homelessness can blend into […]

James Addison Interviewed on Fordham’s WFUV Radio

James Addison was interviewed for Fordham University WFUV Radio about the upcoming book “Sacred Shelter”. Edited by Susan Celia Greenfield and published by Fordham University Press, Sacred Shelter: Thirteen Journeys of Homelessness and Healing features the life stories of thirteen remarkable individuals, all of whom graduated from the life skills empowerment program, founded by New […]

LEFSA Gratefully Receives a Large Donation of Thermals

We just picked up a big donation of thermals for both men and women. About 300 pairs for our upcoming Christmas party in December! Thank you to our supporters at Big John’s Moving for this contribution. We are expecting a big crowd and each person receives a gift. This donation is a big help in […]

Leadership Study Day—Thanksgiving Celebration

On November 10, 2018, LEFSA hosted a Thanksgiving dinner for our community. It was a great turnout, with all of the 20 tables full! We met as usual at St. Francis of Assisi Church and began our day with few performances from the community members, including singing and original poetry reading! Afterward, all of the […]

LEFSA Fall Retreat

On October 22, LEFSA held a fall retreat for 22 women and 22 men. The group met at LEFSA’s office and departed on a bus at 10 AM for Mariandale Retreat Center. We got to the site just in time for lunch! After lunch and orientation, people had time to find their rooms and settle […]

LEFSA’s 3rd Annual Fishing Trip

79 community members attended LEFSA’s 3rd annual fishing trip on August 15th, 2018. We left at 10:30am from Captree Park on Long Island and fished until 4:30pm that day. We also had lunch on the boat. The weather was perfect and there was abundance of fish! The day was full of excitement and joy, and […]

Photos from our Annual Picnic in Central Park

On Saturday, July 28, 2018 LEFSA hosted Annual Central Park Picnic. It was a hot day, but a lot of people came out to enjoy the day outside. Kids enjoyed toys and games, and the face painter Apryl. She did a splendid job, as usual, making everyone look extra festive. The meal was prepared and […]

Toiletry Donations

“We are organizing toiletry donations to distribute. We will be bringing them next week to our gatherings in the shelters. Thank you to everyone who has contributed so far!” – Karolina Would you like to participate in our toiletry supply drive? Click here to learn more Toiletry Supply Drive.

Base Christian Communities and Team Enrichment

The weekly team enrichment program has the following components: studying scripture from a liberation perspective and studying tools for transformation. In addition, educating ourselves in the area of human rights issues and participating in actions resulting from this study. The founders of LEFSA, Sr. Teresa Skehan and Sr. Dorothy Gallant, took inspiration for LEFSA from […]

Visioning 2018

Every year the LEFSA team attends a Visioning to go over the mission statement and components of the program, to evaluate and plan for the future, as well as to spend time building relationships and bonds between team members to strengthen each other. It is important for the team to reflect on what we do […]

Donations – July 2018

Your donations make a difference! You never know how a simple gesture can positively impact someone! During the first week of July, LEFSA received a donation of a few bags of men’s shirt and shoes. All of the shirts that came in were brand-new but in large sizes. As we unpacked the bags, team member […]

Leadership Study Day Father’s Day Prayer

1.  Our Father who art in heaven, bless the fathers who are on earth: those who work hard every day to light a path and show the way; those who forget and don’t perceive the devastation when they leave. 2.  Hallowed be Thy name. Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth as it […]

Annual Spring Retreat

On May 21-22, 2018, LEFSA attended an annual Spring Retreat at Mariandale Retreat Center in Ossining, NY. 44 people attended. LEFSA retreats give people an opportunity for renewal of body, mind and spirit. For 2 nights and 3 days, every participant has a private room, and all meals are provided for by the Retreat Center. […]

Celebrating Black History Month

February’s Leadership Study Day theme was “Extending the Reign of God Through Freedom—Celebrating Black History Month.” Our day focused around celebrating the creativity of people in our community and remembering important African American Leaders. The LEFSA community organized its first-ever talent show, which was led and facilitated by Ms. Mary Hall. The turnout was spectacular. Fifteen […]

Reflections on a Sock Drive…

Since the sock drive started in the Summer of 2017 we have been incredibly blessed with the response from people! We received so many pairs of socks it’s hard to count! The number exceeds 1000! People have organized sock drives for us in their Churches, schools, among their friends and communities, we got an overwhelming […]

Women’s Assessment Shelter and Importance of Donations

LEFSA is yet again hosting another group of nursing students from the College of Mount St. Vincent, starting this January. The group will be with us for the next 5 weeks, volunteering in shelters and working on a final health presentation for the community. Deborah Canty, team member, who facilitates groups at Women’s Assessment Shelter, […]

Cold and Homeless in NYC

Hello, New York, Jack Frost is here.  It has been one of the coldest periods we’ve experienced in a very long time, and many of those who are homeless are struggling.  During my years of being homeless on the streets of New York City, I did not experience as much cold weather as we are […]

LEFSA Recently Featured in New York Times Article

Team members James Addison and Mario Pimentel were recently featured in a New York Times article about LEFSA and Catholic Charity’s Education Outreach Program (EOP). Karolina May, Director of LEFSA says of James and Mario, “They are both graduates of EOP.  LEFSA works closely with the EOP program, providing referrals to the program from our community. One of […]

LEFSA Christmas Party

LEFSA sponsored our annual Christmas Party on December 16th, 2017. About 250 people attended. As every year we started with a light breakfast and gift giving. Women and men could choose from thermal sets, hats, gloves, sweaters, and socks. We had a lot of gifts for children, as well as socks to give out! We […]

Socks!

Just wanted to share the good news—we got a big donation of socks because of the sock drive announcement on our website! Maureen Reiser, who recently became Sisters of Charity Associate was interested in doing something for people who are homeless and she found our website and the announcement about the sock drive online. She […]

Mental Health First Aid Training

  On Friday, October 6th, 2017, LEFSA participated in Mental Health First Aid Training. The workshop was facilitated by the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene and arranged by the Community Coordinator for the Center for Faith and Community Partnership at the Office of the Mayor. The workshop took place at the […]

Resource Fair

On Wednesday, September 27th, Team Member James Butler attended a Resource Fair Sponsored by the Mayor’s Office. Various City Departments were presents including: The Department of Transportation, Department of Finance, NYPD, Economic Development Corporation, Department of Education, Department of Health, Small Business Services, Department of Veterans Affairs, Human Resources Administration and many more. The Fair […]

Health Fair

In the Month of September LEFSA hosted 8 Advanced Nursing Students from the College of Mount St. Vincent. The students volunteered in shelters and during street ministry, as well as attended weekly Team Enrichment gatherings. On September 27th, as a final community project they put together a health fair, which included presentations on medications (types, […]

LEFSA Men’s and Women’s Group Picnic

On August 19th LEFSA sponsored a Men’s and Women’s Group Picnic at Marcus Garvey Park in Harlem. About 70 people attended. We served hamburgers, hot dogs, macaroni salad, and baked beans. This annual event gathers members of both LEFSA Women’s Empowerment Group and Men’s Spiritual Development Group.

Fishing Trip

On August 17, 2017 the LESFA community attended a Fishing Trip. The community gathered about 9am that day at the marina by East 23 Street and FDR. By 10am everyone boarded the boat and we were on our way! There were 70 people in attendance and we were glad to be able to extend the […]

James Butler Attends Urban Justice Center Safety Net Project Meeting

On June 19, 2017 James Butler attended Urban Justice Center Safety Net Project meeting. LEFSA has been attending these meeting for about a year and many members of LEFSA community members are involved with Safety Net Project as well. They advocate for change to how HRA (Human Resource Administration) and DHS (Department of Homeless Services) […]

Daughters of LEFSA Perform at SC Federation Assembly

On June 4th, 2017—Daughters of LEFSA performed at Sisters of Charity Federation Assembly at College of Mount St. Vincent.

Photos from our 2017 Picnic in Central Park

We hope you enjoy these photos from our annual picnic in Central Park last Saturday! 250-300 people shared prayer, food, and conversation at this wonderful event. We are grateful to all who donated food and their time to help make this picnic another great event during our the Sisters of Charity’s 200th Anniversary.

Challenges When Looking for Housing

“Some of the biggest challenges for people who are in the shelters and looking for housing is what to do with their vouchers (SEPS, City FEPS, LINCS, Section 8– these vouchers are city or state subsidies given to people with low income). People don’t know where to go, how to use the voucher, as there […]

LEFSA Picnic – July 8

LEADERSHIP STUDY DAY ANNUAL PICNIC When: Saturday, July 8, 2017 Time: 9:00am – 2:00pm Where: 5th Avenue and East 72nd street. When you walk into Central Park turn to the right, walk down the stairs and go to your left. The picnic will be near the lake. Look for the orange chairs. The name of the […]

Catholic Charities reception at Gracie Mansion

Catholic Charities reception at Gracie Mansion: Karolina May and James Butler attended The Catholic Charities and the Archdiocese of New York and UJA-Federation Centennial Reception at Gracie Mansion.

Coats and Clothing Donation

Today (June 23) LEFSA received a large donation of coats and other clothing! (20 bags) There is still a lot of time before winter, but it’s a good reminder that people who are homeless are always in need of good, clean clothing, and coats are crucial in the winter time! We accept donations of many […]

Street Ministry

For the last 19 years LEFSA street ministry has been reaching out to people in Midtown Manhattan in Madison Square Park and Penn Station area. We serve about 80 to 100 people each Monday night. Recently, we were able to connect with St. Francis of Assisi Breadline, and because of their generous donation of extra […]

Showers

During our move last year a generous donor donated a shower for one of our bathrooms. At this time we are getting ready to start our shower ministry, we are hoping to offer 300+ showers annually. Of course, in order to provide this service we will need various supplies, towels, toiletries, socks, underwear, t-shirts, disposable […]

Birthdays

On June 14, 2017 LEFSA Celebrated June Birthdays in our office.

February Leadership Study Day

On February 11, 2017 LEFSA hosted Leadership Study Day, the theme of the day was: Celebrating Black History Month. Participants shared around a person who particularly inspired them in the fight for freedom and justice. We also had a presentation by College of Mount St. Vincent Nursing Students about Hypertension and Diabetes, followed by Q&A […]

LEFSA Super Bowl Party

On Sunday, February 5, 2017 LEFSA hosted an annual Super Bowl party. About 50 people attended to enjoy the game, food and fellowship.  

January Leadership Study Day

The theme for our January Leadership Study Day was “Extending the Reign of God in the New Year”. We also remembered the late Jackie Smith, one of the long time community members and a Daughter of LEFSA.

LEFSA Christmas Party

LEFSA Christmas Party Photos LEFSA hosted annual Christmas Party at Salem United Methodist Church on December 17, 2016.  Daughters of LEFSA as well as Salem United Methodist Youth Group performed.

LEFSA Christmas Gift Drive 2016

Support LEFSA’s Christmas Gift Drive! Life Experience and Faith Sharing Associates which serves people who are homeless living in the city shelters and on the streets of New York City is hosting an annual Christmas Party on December 17th, 2016. During this event we distribute gifts to people who are currently and formerly homeless and […]

Leadership October

Theme of October Leadership Study Day was: “Extending the Reign of God Through Service.” We presented two service awards during that time to Fr. Chris Keenan, OFM and Sr. Cecilia Palange, ICM, both whom dedicated many years of service to LEFSA, through direct work with community as well as efforts to grow and sustain the […]

Nursing Students

In the month of October LEFSA hosted 8 advanced nursing students from the College of Mount St. Vincent. Students volunteered their time during shelter gatherings in order to get to know our community better and conducted two health workshops at the LEFSA office, for 35 participants each. The themes of the workshop were: Hypertension and […]

Fundraiser

On September 22, 2016 LEFSA celebrated 30th anniversary with a Gala at Helen Mills Event Space. Mr. George Horton, Director of Catholic Charities Department of Social and Community Development and Sr. Florence Speth, SC, Director, Msgr. Robert Fox Memorial Shelter (Fox House) were presented with Sr. Dorothy Gallant, SC and Sr. Teresa Skehan, RSM Humanitarian […]

LEFSA’s 30th Anniversary- Leadership Study Day

On September 10, 2016 LEFSA celebrated 30th anniversary during Leadership Study Day. The theme of the day was: LEFSA 30 Year Award Celebration. Honoring the Men and Women who have dedicated their time and service faithfully to the LEFSA community. Many people who contributed and supported us over the years received community awards. Service Award […]

St. Francis Panel

On July 27, 2016 LEFSA presented on the panel titled “Experience of Homelessness” at St. Francis of Assisi Church. About 60 people from the parish attended the event. Many thanks to Franciscan Friars for hosting us! Description of the panel: We are surrounded by homelessness in New York City and, yet, many of us have […]

Fishing Trip

On July 20, 2016 LEFSA community was invited on a fishing trip out of Captree State Park on Long Island. 40 people attended. It was a perfect summer day to get away from the city and daily troubles.

Photos from Our Picnic in Central Park

Here are some photos from LEFSA’s Annual Picnic in Central Park. The food was donated by a chef Jack McDavid. Hundreds turned out and everyone had a wonderful time.

James Butler Speaks at Graduation Ceremony

Team member James Butler speaks at graduation ceremony On May 18th, 2016 the 53rd class of Catholic Charities Educational Outreach Program had its graduation. James Butler, LEFSA team member, was this year’s guest speaker. James has been a member of the LEFSA community since 2011 and graduated in the 49th class of the program. Deborah […]

2016 Women’s Retreat

From May 23-25, LEFSA’s annual women’s retreat took place at Cenacle Retreat Center in Ronkonkoma, Long Island. Twenty-two women attended. Sessions revolved around women being empowered for change; praise, promise and prayer; and speaking life through the power of words. Minister Carl Petrus was a guest speaker during one of the sessions. LEFSA has separate […]

May Leadership Study Day: LEFSA Celebrates Mothers and the Life of Harriet Tubman

At May Leadership Study Day, LEFSA finds inspiration in the life of Harriet Tubman. May’s Leadership Study Day was an incredible celebration of women and inspirational mother figures as well as a place for members of the LEFSA community to share their talents and creativity. The Women’s Group led the day. The Daughters of LEFSA, our […]

We’re Moving!

We are excited to announce that we will be moving to our new office space on June 16. As you may know, LEFSA has been looking for a new office space so we can better serve our homeless and formerly homeless brothers and sisters. We are excited to announce that this dream has finally come […]

Finding Faith Again with LEFSA

Let me begin by introducing myself, my name is Mario and I’m a 54 year old Dominican raised in West Harlem. I met LEFSA living in the Boulevard Men’s shelter on Lexington Avenue. Let me say it’s a very dark place, when you’re living in constant fear that you might be the next victim. As […]

Testimony to Ministry

I arrived at Lenox Hill Shelter for Women in the month of July 2008, feeling sickly and weak. Sorrow had taken the place of joy, because of my dire circumstances. At least one year and a half earlier I underwent a yearlong treatment for chemotherapy, then came the death of my beloved mother, followed by […]

Reconnected Through LEFSA

“LEFSA got me reconnected with the Bible, God, and also with my family.” I became affiliated with LEFSA in 2011 when I was living in Lenox Hill Women’s Shelter on Park Avenue. I always believed in God and that all people are children of God. Every week I looked forward to LEFSA coming to the […]

Little Miracles

When asked to write about Life Experience and Faith Sharing Associates (LEFSA) I came up with a title for the essay, I call it “Little Miracles”. Read on, hopefully you’ll agree. A couple of weeks after I moved out of the shelter and into my apartment, I was confined to a wheelchair. One night while […]

LEFSA Celebrates Women’s History Month

We celebrated Women’s History Month at our last Leadership Study Day on March 12.  We shared around women who have inspired us and later on watched a  film titled Wilhemina’s War. Watch the trailer below: Click here to watch the entire film, free on PBS. We shared a prayer, which we are including here for […]

Housing Advocacy Update

LEFSA members attended two events on February 18 to advocate for more and better housing opportunities for those living in extreme poverty in NYC. The first event was a Teach-in and City Hall Rally on Mayor de Blasio’s inclusionary housing plan. The de Blasio administration has developed an ambitious plan to produce and preserve 200,000 […]

Black History Theme of Leadership Study Day

This month we celebrated Black History Month during Leadership Study Day. The Daughters of LEFSA (DOLs) performed. Tara from (DOLs) prepared traditional African hats for the team and associates.  The DOLs wore special outfits during their performance. We also had a guest performance by Salem United Methodist Church Youth Ministry, which included songs, step dance […]

LEFSA is Looking for a New Office Space

LEFSA is looking for a new office space to accommodate our growing ministry. The space would ideally be around 1,500 sq. ft., with a few small offices, and a meeting space for about 30 people. Kitchen would be great; bathroom and ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) accommodation are necessary. If you are aware of available […]

30 Years, 30 Stories… Share your story today!

Share your story about LEFSA! As we celebrate our thirtieth anniversary, we are inviting our team members, participants, volunteers, friends, and supporters to share a story about LEFSA. If you would like to participate, please fill out the form below! Stories will be shared on our website and social media pages. Thank you for celebrating with us!

Merry Christmas from LEFSA!

LEFSA celebrated Christmas on December 12, 2015 with the community. Around 200 people attended. Thank you to everyone who celebrated with us and to all friends and supporters of LEFSA. We wish you and your loved ones a blessed Christmas!

Daughters of LEFSA Celebrate their First Anniversary

At LEFSA’s Christmas party earlier this month, we celebrated the first anniversary of the Daughters of LEFSA. This music ministry first began as an initiative during Women’s Group to perform songs during Christmastime last year. Now they perform regularly during Leadership Study Day. Click here to view a video of the Daughters of LEFSA on […]

Homelessness is a Tragedy—Not a Crime

James Addison and Karolina May attended a press conference at City Hall on October 14th, where Picture the Homeless and the Interfaith Assembly on Homelessness and Housing advocated for homeless people whose rights are being violated. Together they urged Mayor DeBlasio and NYPD for a better response to this public concern. “These are very challenging […]

Extending the Reign of God through Community Building: Everyone at the Table

LEFSA’s Leadership Study Day theme for October was “Extending the Reign of God through Community Building: Everyone at the Table.” We showed a film titled “Everyone at the Table” about hunger among children and families across the United States. Afterwards, we wrote letters to particular senators and representatives urging them to protect child nutrition programs […]

LEFSA Presents on Community Based Decision Making

James Addison and Karolina May attended a Vincentian Family Gathering in Denver, CO from October 23-25, 2015. The theme of this year’s gathering was “Going Deeper: Building Community and Collaboration for Systemic Change around Homelessness.” James and Karolina presented on LEFSA during one of the breakout sessions. The title of the presentation was: “Community Based […]

NY/NY IV: Sign the Petition for 35,000 Units of Supportive Housing

On October 23, 2015 LEFSA attended a public forum for Campaign 4 NY/NY Housing at New York Society for Ethical Culture. Over 315 groups representing affordable housing, social services, faith-based and homeless prevention organizations were present. The campaign is to urge the Mayor and the Governor to commit to the establishment of supportive housing units […]

LEFSA Members Participate in Poverty Simulation

LEFSA team members Georgia and Jimmie attended Poverty Simulation at St. Ignatius Loyola Church on September 19th. The event was co-sponsored by Bread for the World, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul, Xavier Peace and Justice Committee, and Ignatian Social Justice. From the website of the event: “A poverty simulation is intended to sensitize […]

This Year’s Leadership Study Focus

Extending the Reign of God through Community Building: This Year’s Leadership Study Focus We start our year at LEFSA in September. This year we are going to center our gatherings around the theme of community building. We asked the LEFSA community, “what are issues WE AS A COMMUNITY would like to address?” Some of the […]

LEFSA Street Ministry: “More People Are Watching Us”

Every Monday evening, LEFSA sponsors a Street Ministry, where we distribute sandwiches, and sometimes toiletries, socks, hats, and gloves to people who are homeless. We encounter more than 80 people each week. Operation Manager James Addison shared that this Monday many people approached him to voice their concern for the people who were on the […]

James Addison Receives Service Award

On May 13, 2015, Cardinal Timothy Dolan and Catholic Charities of the Archdiocese of NY hosted a convening of the Leadership of the Catholic Charities Federation. This event was a celebration and recognition for those who serve the most vulnerable in our city and the surrounding areas. James Addison, LEFSA Operations Manager, was presented with […]

Daughters of LEFSA

Daughters of LEFSA (DOL) began as a initiative during Women’s Group to perform songs during Christmas time. They began meeting for regular practice in November 2014 and had their first performance during December 2014 Leadership Study Day. Now DOL perform regularly during Leadership Study Day. The choir is led by Tara Robinson, daughter of James […]