Answering these questions is not simple; there are no one or two word answers. Our needs change every day. Our first priority is to help refugees and we are staying true to that. We will serve an estimated 400 newly arrived in 2018. We have been helping many refugees already living in Rochester but living on the poverty level. We have also been assisting refugee families that found themselves homeless, others evicted from their home, many relocated here from another city, some having a new baby, and others requesting furniture to replace broken or worn items.
Saint’s Place is actively working with three other refugee organizations and several city schools to assist refugees living in poverty. Each week, Saint’s Place is also aiding Puerto Rican evacuees, homeless people, veterans, victims of fire, victims of domestic violence, etc.
The inconsistences of accepting furniture donations are directly related to the lack of newly arriving refugees. Our warehouse space is limited. We have been setting up newly arriving refugees with everything from beds, bedding, sofas, chairs, desks, tables, dressers, household items, lamps, toys, etc. Items moved very quickly out of our warehouse.
When helping families that have already been living here, their requirements are less. Often they only request a few things, not a whole houseful of furniture. So our needs change along with the need in the community.
We still require volunteers because there is always work to be done. The more volunteers we have, the more we can accomplish for those in need, refugees, homeless or the poor.
As always, your prayers are most welcomed. We continue to pray that refugees living in unimaginable conditions, just wanting to live in peace, will be allowed to enter the United States.
The times are challenging but the energy and dedication of our volunteers, donors, schools, businesses, Churches and the wonderful parishioners of St. Louis Church and Saint John of Rochester, simplify our tasks and motivate us to do more. May God Bless each of you abundantly.
One of the most positive and exciting endeavors at Saint’s Place is our Tutoring Program, which has been assisting, guiding and teaching refugee adults and children for over fifteen years. The dedicated volunteers, under the amazing leadership of Geri Dolan, have truly made a significant difference in the lives of refugees. Geri has enlarged, enhanced and guided the program. Her tireless efforts have ensured the success of so many refugees.
Marvelous success stories are happening every day at the tutoring program, i.e. refugees are passing their citizenship exams, qualifying for better jobs because they now speak English, students are being accepted at colleges, students are graduating from colleges, and grade school students are learning to read. All these accomplishments - large and small – are occurring on a weekly basis.
Recently, two young boys, one from Iraq and one from Somalia, were hesitant to start our tutoring program. They initially were afraid, and not very willing to participate. At times there were even tears. A tutor remembered that we just received new pajamas donated by a company in New York City, and she quickly presented the boys each with a pair of super hero pajamas and the smiles and laughter started. This seemingly little act of kindness made a huge difference. It opened the door to the beginning of an educational opportunity that was sure to influence the rest of their educational days.
The reality is that the refugees must assimilate, must learn English, get jobs and ensure that their children are succeeding in school. In order to break the chain of poverty, which surrounds the refugees, learning English, staying in school, and becoming citizens are key to their future success.
…. A Moving Ministry
As Saint’s Place begins its 20th year of operation, we are inspired by the commitment and support of our donors and volunteers. Without them, Saint’s Place could not happen. Refugees would have had an unwelcoming start; and the challenges of beginning a new life in a strange culture would have been intensified.
Now, we are frequently asked several questions. What are you doing if you don’t have newly arriving refugees? Why are you not accepting as many donations? Why do you still need volunteers? How can we help?
46 South Main Street
Pittsford, NY 14534
Open Monday-Thursday 8:30 - 4:00