Christmas Appeal funds help feed Rochester families at the holidays

Dozens of families in the City of Rochester will be able to prepare holiday feasts this year thanks in part to proceeds from an annual Christmas fundraising campaign.

On Nov. 24, 76 families received food baskets that were provided by Our Lady of the Americas Church. The church — along with St. Michael Church and Church of the Annunciation — is part of Rochester’s St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish.

The annual Thanksgiving food basket effort was made possible through donations from the community, as well as funds from the Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal, according to Priscila DeJesus, pastoral minister for St. Frances Xavier Cabrini.

Irondequoit’s St. Kateri Tekakwitha Parish had donated 34 turkeys and other grocery items for the food baskets, DeJesus told the Catholic Courier. She then purchased the rest of the food items needed for the baskets using funds the church had received through a Hunger Relief Grant from Rochester’s Catholic Family Center. CFC uses a portion of its Christmas Appeal proceeds, as well as proceeds from the Lenten fundraiser Operation Rice Bowl, to create Hunger Relief Grants. The grants are then provided to various ministries in Monroe County.

Registration for the Thanksgiving food baskets began in mid-September, and in late October, DeJesus placed a notice in the parish bulletin encouraging parishioners to donate to the effort. DeJesus also was in charge of assembling the baskets and ensuring they were received by the selected families.

“I chose the Sunday before Thanksgiving (to make the baskets available) so families would have time to collect their baskets and prepare before Thanksgiving on Thursday (Nov. 28),” she said.

In addition to the 76 baskets distributed Nov. 24, DeJesus said that the Knights of Columbus donated additional turkeys Nov. 25 that enabled 10 additional families to receive Thanksgiving food baskets.

St. Frances Xavier Cabrini Parish also distributes food baskets to city residents at Christmas. St. Michael parishioner Mercedes Ortiz, who has overseen that effort for almost 30 years, said that those baskets are funded in part by the Christmas Appeal as well as donations from St. Marianne Cope Parish in Henrietta and Rush and Our Mother of Sorrows Church in Greece.

According to Ortiz, 70 baskets filled with grocery items, gifts and $20 food vouchers will be distributed by St. Michael this month.

EDITOR’S NOTE: Contributions made payable to Christmas Appeal may be sent to the Catholic Courier, PO Box 24379, Rochester, NY 14624. Please include your name, address, city, state, ZIP code, telephone number, and whether the gift is being made in honor or in memory of someone.

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