Several families in the City of Rochester will have the opportunity to prepare holiday meals this year thanks in part to proceeds from an annual Christmas fundraising campaign.
Every year, Hunger Relief Grants are distributed to local ministries by Rochester’s Catholic Family Center, and the grants are partially funded by the annual Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal.
According to Sister Julia Norton, the food pantry’s director, the grant came as a nice surprise, since the cupboard serves additional families during the holiday season by providing baskets of food.
The holiday baskets are given to parishioners in the inner city or to those who live in the northeast section of the city, which Sister Norton said is the section that the pantry primarily tries to serve. The parish uses funds from its Hunger Relief grant to provide Christmas gifts to go with baskets.
However, unlike previous years, Sister Norton found herself in the difficult position of not having enough food in the food cupboard to accommodate the needs of the additional families during the holidays.
“I knew all these people that we were getting gifts for, but I had no food,” she told the Catholic Courier Dec. 15. “I need all the food that I have for the regular operations.”
This year, Sister Norton said she will use the entirety of the Hunger Relief Grant to purchase grocery store gift cards to be added to the holiday baskets being distributed the week of Christmas. That way, families will be able to purchase their own food for Christmas.
Sister Norton said that without the Hunger Relief Grant, she would not otherwise have had the funds to serve additional families at the holidays.