Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany appoints new CEO

ALBANY — On Tuesday, Sister Betsy Van Deusen, CSJ, coordinated her 244th Catholic Charities drive-thru pantry — and her last before becoming CEO of Catholic Charities in July.

Once again, Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany will partner with the Regional Food Bank of Northeastern New York, the Capital District Physicians’ Health Plan (CDPHP), and the Capital District Area Labor Federation for mass food distribution in 230 Green St. in Albany.

Sister Betsy, who has served as director of community partnerships for Catholic charities for the past nine years, will succeed in July Vincent W. Colonno, who is retiring after 11 years as executive director. Barb Willis, who was previously head of payroll and human resources at Catholic Charities, will oversee future food distributions as manager of CC MOVE, a mobile outreach initiative.

In response to the pandemic, Sister Betsy led the expansion of CC MOVE throughout the region, including the exponential growth of food distributions in all 14 counties of the Diocese of Albany – all in partnership with organizations such as Centro Civico in Amsterdam, Metropolitan Baptist Church and Macedonian Baptist Church in Albany, CDPHP, Boys and Girls Club of Lansingburgh and Our Lady of Hope Catholic Church in Fort Plain.

Before the pandemic, the organizations coordinated one distribution per month, serving about 300 households each. As COVID-19 disrupted daily life, more and more people went out to look for food. One event per month became four, then five, then eight. Before long, Catholic Charities, with food provided by the Northeast New York Regional Food Bank, was regularly distributing food to more than 600 families at each event. In total, over 4.4 million pounds of food were distributed to over 425,000 people across the diocese.

Even with the cessation of pandemic-related shutdowns, the needs remained relentless.

These distributions are part of CC MOVE and provide supplementary and emergency food in areas where access to services is limited.

CC MOVE’s outreach program is also a catalyst for case management because it helps connect people to additional programs and services. CC MOVE guests can even speak with on-site case managers to receive additional assistance if needed.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exacerbated the already persistent problem of food insecurity in our region. Under the leadership of Sister Betsy, CC MOVE has become a lifeline for people in our diocese,” Colonno said. “Today our neighbors continue to struggle to put food on the table and at Catholic Charities we remain steadfast in our commitment to help. The efforts of our volunteers, partners and Sister Betsy have been tremendous and c It is thanks to them that we can give people the support they need.

“CC MOVE gives us the privilege of meeting people where they are and walking with them to meet challenges and find success. Thanks to CC MOVE, we don’t just distribute food. We are able to connect our neighbors to resources such as pantry services or case management,” Sister Betsy said.

Originally from Cobleskill and a graduate of the College of Saint Rose, Sister Betsy entered the religious community of the Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet in 1988. She began her career in social services in 1985 at Unity House in Troy, then a program of Catholic teaching. Charities, where she administered a 24-hour emergency shelter for victims of domestic violence and focused on crisis intervention and management. Since 2013, Sister Betsy has been the Director of Community Partnerships for Catholic Charities.

Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Albany is one of the largest private social service organizations in the region. It serves 14 counties around the Capital Region over some 10,000 square miles. Last year, around 100,000 people turned to regional Catholic charities for help.

About Yvonne Lozier

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