UNITED STATES: Don Bosco Community Center provides 230 meals a day to support families in need in Port Chester, New York
(MissionNewswire) The Don Bosco Community Center, one of only a few food pantries in the Village of Port Chester, New York, is providing an average of 230 meals a day to support people who can’t otherwise shop because of the statewide order to stay in place and the closure of local businesses.
The Don Bosco Community Center has been providing local community services for more than 80 years, benefiting low to moderate income residents, as well as advocating for immigrants and their families. During normal operations, the Don Bosco Community Center provides a soup kitchen, food pantry and educational programming for youth and adults.
It also offers services to new immigrants and Port Chester’s long-time residents who have lived near or in poverty for years. Services are open to all adults including parents in need, the elderly, the unemployed, the working poor, immigrants, day laborers and the homeless.
“God is sending us people who need food,” said Father Patrick Angelucci, pastor of St. John Bosco Parish, which operates the Don Bosco Community Center. “I met with the Salesian community, and we decided to take $10,000 out of our community savings to help the soup kitchen in this crisis.”
The extra demand on the program is costing about $2,000 a week above what it normally costs to run the program. Fr. Angelucci explained, “In this crisis, God is sending these persons to Don Bosco, and Don Bosco would never turn his back on a person in such need.”
Carmen Lopez de Linero, a volunteer, oversees the operation of the food pantry and organizes the distribution of food, which begins each weekday at 11:30 a.m. She is assisted by a team of volunteers who sort food, cook, prepare food packages and deliver food to people unable to visit the pantry.
Normally, individuals would be able to come into the dining room for a cooked meal. The social distancing requirements have changed the operation to take-out service. The number of people coming for assistance has increased over the last four weeks.
In addition to the food program, St. John Bosco Parish provides awareness of prevention measures, home delivery of food, making and distributing masks, online counseling, online classes, transport of the sick to hospitals, and resources for the accommodation of the sick or homeless.
Salesians throughout the United States and Canada are doing their best to help those affected by the coronavirus. Eight out of sixteen Salesian communities are offering social services. Several offer online learning or live streaming of religious services. All six high schools in the province offer a full day of classes using distance learning programs. To date, more than 1,400 families have benefited from the food programs offered. All are practicing the safety protocols of distancing and staying in place while making efforts to support others.
At the provincial house in New Rochelle, New York, the Salesians placed bright LED bulbs in each window of a tower as a sign of support to health care workers, first responders and those providing essential services.
ANS Photo (usage permissions and guidelines must be requested from ANS)
Salesian Missions – United States