Saint's Place is open from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Monday through Thursday.
Welcoming the Stranger
Provide incoming and existing refugees with needed clothing. All arriving refugees are given a warm winter coat, hat, gloves and boots to prepare them for our harsh winters. They are assisted by volunteers who help them select sufficient clothing of their choosing. We purchase new socks and underwear to give to each arriving refugee. They are welcome to return to the clothing closet at any time to obtain additional clothing and shoes for job interviews, special occasions or other circumstances. We do not foresee an end to this need in the future and we measure success by the number of people we serve per year at our clothing closet. Saint’s Place operates the largest clothing closet in Rochester. In addition to refugees, we welcome clients from other non-profits by appointment. During 2020, we served 820 individuals at our clothing closet even with it being closed April-June due to the pandemic.
Furnish the homes of newly arrived refugees with donated furniture from the Rochester community and supplemented with items purchased through fundraising and grants. Each new refugee receives a new mattress, box spring and pillow. The apartments are secured through Catholic Charities Family and Community Services, and Saint’s Place delivers couches, table and chairs, dressers, rugs, lamps, artwork, dishes, pots and pans, and bathroom accessories. We turn a dingy apartment into a warm, safe, welcoming home. We also help refugees who have been here for years but still struggle with poverty, bed bugs, domestic and community violence and secondary migration. The number of set-ups fluctuates according to how many refugees are sent to the Rochester area. We also assist numerous non-profits in Rochester with any surplus donated furniture. From 2016-2020, we set up 1,249 homes. In 2020, we set up 180 homes, even with the challenges of the pandemic.
Provide school supplies for refugee children. Each arriving child receives a new backpack filled with school supplies. Success is measured by the number of backpacks we hand out each year – an average of 250 per year. All incoming refugees are given access to tutoring provided twice per week at two locations. Success is measured in children raising their grades at school, adults passing citizenship tests and watching confidence grow as refugees become more confident communicating in the English language. We tutor 75 refugees per week. The tutoring program was suspended during 2020 due to the pandemic and the program remains on hold.
The Saint’s Place Educational Initiative began in 2018. Refugees who receive aid in the form of a laptop, payment of school fees, books, partial tuition or vocational certification costs have measurable success. We see their grades improve and their lives change as they secure good employment with benefits. Many of our recipients are on the Dean’s list at MCC, and vocational student scholarship recipients have secured good jobs with medical benefits upon completion of their programs. Since it began in 2018, we have awarded $100,000 in educational assistance to 74 refugee students and given out 55 laptops.
Our grant-funded beds program began in January 2020. This new initiative allows us to give free beds to refugees and the poor and needy in the Rochester area who have experienced bed bugs, fire, housing insecurities and domestic violence as well as migrant families that are combining households due to financial instability. Beds are our most requested items. Having a good night's sleep on a clean bed with bedding and a new pillow improves the physical and mental health of individuals and gives them a chance to secure a better future. In 2020, we gave away 271 beds.