BROCKPORT — The Oak Orchard Community Health Center doesn’t receive a huge grant to pay for the gifts it distributes to migrant families and single mothers during the holiday season.
That’s why support of the initiative by the center’s staff has played such an important role, said Rosario Rangel, the center’s outreach coordinator.
Oak Orchard is one of the local agencies that receives a Hunger Relief grant, which is funded by combining proceeds from the annual Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal and the Lenten fundraiser Operation Rice Bowl. The center uses its grant money to help pay for the gifts it distributes during the holidays.
“Every year, not only from the grant, but all of our providers, doctors and staff contribute to the Christmas spirit,” Rangel explained. “That’s how we make this all possible. … Instead of giving among ourselves, we prefer to do that (give to the migrant families and single mothers).”
This year, 40 families received presents and gift certificates, Rangel added. Each year there also are new migrant families who stay for the winter and are caught unprepared by the cold weather, she noted, so the community and staff donate hats, mittens and coats to help with these situations. Members of the Brockport Ecumenical Outreach Committee also help with the center’s efforts.
Librada Paz, coordinator of the Brockport office for Rural & Migrant Ministry, said that the work done by Oak Orchard makes such a positive impact on the migrant families.
“It’s a great help,” she said. “The families are thankful for these organizations that distribute such gifts.”
Organizers of the 39th-annual Christmas Appeal said that proceeds provide support for the emergency funds of Catholic Charities offices and affiliated agencies throughout the diocese. The goal of this year’s appeal — which will run through February — is $50,000, which is the same as last year’s goal. Catholic Charities offices and affiliated agencies use appeal funds to help individuals and families in short-term financial crises who may need to purchase such items as medications, canes or special formula for sick infants. Appeal money also helps families who need funds to pay their rent or utility bills, or to buy groceries.
Rangel said that the families the center assists always express their appreciation for Oak Orchard’s efforts.
“People do things for us, bring lunch for us … invite us into their homes,” she noted.
The people they help are diverse as well, Rangel added.
“We service everybody in the community,” she said. “We try to be discreet and help whoever needs it.”