A friend of mine recently asked if I knew of any worthy charities that could use a $1,000 donation from proceeds expected at a benefit concert he is leading.
Sadly, I know of too many. The people providing services to our community, though, offer hope and inspiration.
Sister Julia Norton from the Sister Regis Food Cupboard is one of those people. Every year for decades, she and Natalia Medero, a St. Frances Xavier Cabrini parishioner, oversee volunteers who prepare Christmas baskets for families throughout the city. I spoke with both of them for an article about the annual Catholic Courier/Catholic Charities Christmas Appeal.
Year after year, they find the resources to make Christmas a little more joyful for these families. They make sure to include a couple of gifts for the kids as well as a little something for mom or dad if they can. But Medero said that even donations from the suburban parishes that help them are shrinking — a sign of the economic challenges that remain for so many. And yet, God continues to provide.
Then there are the Sisters of St. Joseph who take care of the hungry in the Marketview Heights neighborhood, providing meals three days a week as well as on Thanksgiving and Christmas morning at St. Martin’s Place on Ontario Street. You know their work is meaningful when Thanksgiving Day is full of volunteers serving meals to the many neighbors who walk in from the cold for a hot meal.
Luckily, despite the hard times of recent years, Rochester remains one of the most generous communities in the country. And I hope those who are more fortunate are mindful of those with less during this Advent season and aim to be like Jesus and give from their hearts.
Merry Christmas to one and all!