NEW YORK (FOX 5 NEWS) - Pope Francis' visit to New York in September increased his favorability among all Americans, according to a Marist poll that shows his rating jumped from 58 percent to 74 percent. In addition, 58 percent of Americans and 82 percent of practicing Catholics said they are more likely to be charitable as a result of the pope's message to help the poor.
Joe Zwilling is the communications director for the Archdiocese of New York. He said many people have said they were inspired to do more to help the poor and homeless. But since it's only been 3 months since the pope's visit, Zwilling says calculating the exact numbers is difficult. But after papal visits from Pope John Paul II in 1995 and Pope Benedict XVI in 2008, it took about a year to see the full impact of their visits and messages.
Empire City Casino in Yonkers recently donated nearly a thousand toys and coats along with $10,000 to the archdiocese's Catholic Charities. This is the ninth year the casino and its employees have helped out during the holiday season.
Monsignor Kevin Sullivan is the executive director of Catholic Charities. He says that when the recession hit, the number of people in need skyrocketed -- and those needs are still great. Monsignor Sullivan says Pope Francis' visit and hallmark message to help the poor is making a difference.