HARLEM, Manhattan (WABC) -- Cardinal Dolan and Catholic Charities of New York distributed food to families in need on Holy Thursday.
Monsignor Kevin Sullivan was also on hand at the event at the Church of Saint Joseph of the Holy Family in Harlem.
"The demands on our program, not only on Holy Thursday, not only here in Harlem, but through New York City and throughout the metropolitan area is even greater than usual," Sullivan said.
The Church of Saint Joseph of the Holy Family Food Distribution Center gave out 350 bags of food to residents of the local community.
"It's too expensive in the supermarket and I don't get food stamps and this will help me a lot," Harlem resident Lizza Oliver said. "At least for two weeks."
In addition, Cardinal Dolan offered a blessing to mark the most sacred days leading up to Easter.
"Catholic Charities does this every day, but Holy Thursday is particularly important, and I have a personal tradition, darn it, during Holy Thursday I ought to be with Catholic Charities at a place they give out food because of The Last Supper. Because of Jesus at a meal with his disciples, giving us a brilliant example of washing the feet of his 12 apostles which is the act of a humble servant and slave, so we want to be humble servants to the great people of this community," Cardinal Dolan said.
The food distribution center is one of the oldest operating food pantries in New York City, serving groceries to an average of 500 families twice per month.
"It makes me feel good and just to interact with people and just to know they'll have food for a nice Easter dinner," volunteer Cheryl Jenkins said.
The services are available to anyone in need regardless of religious affiliation, immigration status, or national origin.
The annual event highlights the ongoing work of Catholic Charities serving those struggling throughout the neighborhoods of New York City and the lower Hudson Valley, with holistic services to meet their needs.