Bethany House, a Catholic Worker house of hospitality serving women in Rochester, has partially reopened and is seeking volunteers.
Bethany House’s food pantry, located at 111 Joseph Ave. in Rochester, serves households headed by women and reopened on a limited basis June 16, according to Sister of St. Joseph Karen Dietz, interim director of the house. Before Bethany House shut its doors in mid-March due to the coronavirus pandemic, the food pantry had been open Monday through Friday, but currently it only is open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Previously, women receiving food had been able to enter Bethany House to “shop” from the groceries on the food pantry’s shelves, but now they receive pre-packaged bags of food from volunteers at the door, Sister Dietz said.
“That’s due to safety concerns. When things change, we’ll go back to the shopping model,” she said, noting that allowing women to choose the foods their families will eat preserves their dignity.
Bethany House also normally serves as an emergency shelter for women facing homelessness, domestic violence, incarceration, addiction, and mental and physical illness. The residence closed in March and has not yet reopened, Sister Dietz said.
Even though Bethany House is only partially open, there are plenty of opportunities for individuals who would like to volunteer their time. Volunteers are needed for everything from staffing the food pantry when it’s open to writing thank-you notes or doing yard work on the grounds, Sister Dietz said.
“There are a lot of volunteer opportunities, depending on what your gifts are,” she said.
To volunteer or learn more about Bethany House, visit bethanyhouserocny.org.