Saint's Place is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Saint's Place is open 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Assist the crew with pick ups of donated furniture and delivery to household set ups. Mornings, Monday-Thursday. Also need help organizing the warehouse and moving boxes.
Volunteers needed to sort donated items including clothing, books, linens and kitchenware.
Volunteers sort and fold clothing at 8 Wickford Way in Fairport. We also need volunteers to work one on one with clients using the clothing closet to help them select clothing.
Help is needed at 46 South Main Street with typing correspondence and light data entry.
Saint's Place offers tutoring at two locations on a weekly basis: St. Marian Cope Parish at Guardian Angels Church in Henrietta and Sacred Heart Cathedral in Rochester. We offer tutoring for both children and adults.
Donate good quality items - collectibles, antiques, jewelry...items that sell for top dollars. If you can't attend the sale, please consider making a financial donation.
"I started volunteering when the entire operation was on Main Street. The refugees were brought here for clothes. A couple of months into my “volunteer career”, a family from Bhutan came in consisting of a mother, father, a couple of children and grandma. Grandma was dressed in a sari, a team jacket from some high school and a knit hat with a NY Yankees emblem on it. Her face was weathered and she resembled Mother Teresa. She stopped me in the hall, put her hands together and bowed her head in thanks for helping her family. I’ll never forget her. And as Mother Teresa said, “If you do it to help others, you do it to Jesus”.
I don’t see the refugees any more, but I put together their bedding and soft goods they need for their new home. I see their names, ages and where they’re from on their intake sheets. Whether it’s Maya, or Mohammed, or Ilunge, or little Raisa, I know I’m making their lives a little better. Someone told me, “You have to have a why in your life” - a why to get up in the morning, a why to keep busy. I found my why fifteen years ago at Saints Place."
When refugees arrive in Rochester, Saint’s Place provides everything they need to make their apartments into warm and cheery homes.
Mary Galbraith often assists in that endeavor. Mary is a volunteer at the Saint’s Place Clothing Closet, which includes a large room of household items, either gently used or brand new.
“Think of anything that you use in your own house, that’s what we try to give them—dishes, glasses, pots and pans, utensils,” Mary says.
This also includes small kitchen appliances, such as rice cookers, along with table lamps, bedding and towels, even toys for the children. (Furniture, such as beds and kitchen tables, are stored at the Saint’s Place warehouse.)
Mary and the other volunteers receive information on each arriving family, so they know the number of people and their ages. “Sometimes they have specific needs and other times they just need a full household setup,” Mary notes.
Mary became interested in volunteering after hearing about Saint’s Place at her parish, St. Louis Church in Pittsford. “I wanted to see what it was all about. I called the Saint’s Place office, and had my interview and here I am.”
She started out volunteering one day a week, and she liked it so much that she gradually increased her commitment. She now comes every day that the Clothing Closet is open, Monday through Thursday mornings.
Mary gets a lot of satisfaction out of volunteering.
“The refugees are just wonderful people, the smiles, the hugs, I just love helping them,” Mary says. “I love seeing their faces when they get something new. It’s just unbelievable that things we take for granted are just so special to them. When you give the kids toys, it’s like you’re giving them a million dollars. The one thing I’ve learned is it doesn’t matter where people are from. People are people, and they have the same needs.”
An added bonus for Mary is the friendships she’s made with other volunteers. Volunteering at the Clothing Closet “is work, but it’s fun, too.”
Reading and watching news reports about tragedies and challenges around the world led Carol Lawrence to Saint’s Place.
“I was increasingly disturbed by what I was seeing happen in the world, and frustrated like so many people are that you don’t know what to do about it, you feel helpless, you realize that you can’t save large groups of people from starvation,” Carol said. “And then I read a newspaper article about the Clothing Closet, and I thought, ‘That sounds really neat. It’s actually very close to me; there’s almost no reason that I shouldn’t be over there.’ And so I reached a point where I thought if I couldn’t do something big, I could do something small.”
That was three years ago, and since then Carol has been volunteering on Thursday mornings, and often on other days, too. Carol works in the room that features children’s clothing and men’s clothing.
At first, she felt timid about working with the refugees who didn’t speak much or any English, and she didn’t speak their language. “But then I very quickly learned that it’s pretty easy to communicate with people. The volunteers who have been here a long time taught me how you can use lots of hand action and mimicry, and it became great fun.”
Carol says one thing that has really struck her about the refugees is their optimism, especially when refugees have been waiting years to be allowed to enter the United States. “The people we see in here have been so strong and so resourceful just to get here. They have a huge amount of optimism so it’s really fun to meet them and to find ways to communicate.”
The volunteers sometimes learn the aspirations of the refugees. Carol recalls specifically an Afghanistan man who came with his wife and children to get clothing. He had worked as an interpreter with U.S. troops and he had come to Rochester through a program to help interpreters who find their lives in danger in their homeland.
This man spoke excellent English, and he planned to attend Monroe Community College and get licensed as an electrician, as he had done that work in Afghanistan. “That man came here with a plan, and he was accomplishing it.”
Carol sees him as just one example of the refugees who visit the Clothing Closet, often within days of their arrival in Rochester. “The whole cycle is very clear; there are people who are coming here, they have a plan, there’s a way for them to work through that plan and be very successful. And there are a lot of people like that.”
Although she may not meet a refugee more than once, Carol doesn’t forget any of them. “I meet a person, I meet a family, you go home and they’re with you, you think about them. Over and over and over again, you meet impressive people who are strong and have been through so much.”
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