The Diocese of Rochester’s Department of Pastoral Services is sponsoring a drive-thru food and supply collection June 13 at two Monroe County locations to assist migrant farmworkers in need throughout the diocese’s 12 counties.
“We are committed as a Catholic Church and as the Department of Pastoral Services to answer to this fundamental need. It’s a way to let our migrant farmworkers know they are essential, not only to our society, but also to (our) faith communities. They matter, and we stand with them in this time of need,” said Bernard Grizard, diocesan director of Pastoral Services.
The event will take place June 13 from 9 a.m. to noon at St. John of Rochester Church, 8 Wickford Way, Fairport, and from 1 to 4 p.m. at the diocesan Pastoral Center, 1150 Buffalo Road, Gates.
At the drop-off locations, volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves and practicing social distancing, and participants also should remember to wear masks as well, said Carmen Rollinson, a Pastoral Services project manager. Participants are being asked to place donations inside their vehicles where volunteers can easily collect them, such as the trunk, Rollinson noted, and to stay in their vehicles upon arrival.
Items being collected vary from grocery and personal hygiene items, to laundry and cleaning supplies, to Walmart gift cards. According to Rollinson, the food items being collected are specific, because they are representative of the heritage and culture of the migrant communities being served. For example, donations of such items as beans, long-grain white rice and maseca (corn flour for tortillas) are being sought.
In addition to physical items being collected, monetary donations can be mailed to the Diocese of Rochester Migrant Ministry, attention to Bernard Grizard, Pastoral Services, 1150 Buffalo Road, Rochester, NY 14624. Please note Food & Supply drive in the memo on checks.
A priest in the diocese has already sent a generous donation to the migrant food and supply drive, said Grizard, which was the equivalent of half of the recent government stimulus money distributed to individuals in April. This resource was not necessarily available to members of the migrant community, Grizard added.
In addition to not receiving stimulus checks, many migrant farmworkers don’t have access to other resources for a variety of reasons, said Rollinson, adding that “we are thankful to people for their generosity, since this drive will help us to meet the fundamental need of food and household supplies (for migrant farmworkers).”
According to Grizard, organizing the food drive is just one way the diocesan faith community can support migrant farmworkers during the coronavirus pandemic.
“The work of migrants is essential to our society. Their presence in our community is essential too. We as a church and society must commit to their well-being and rights as ‘essential people’ and not make them invisible when we should be protecting them,” Grizard said.
EDITOR’S NOTE: For more information, contact Carmen Rollinson at Carmen.Rollinson@dor.org or 585-328-3228, ext. 1318.