“For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me. . .” Matthew 25:35
Dear St. John’s Parishioners,
In celebration of Easter and in gratitude for our many blessings, St. John’s is continuing its wonderful tradition of supporting a charitable project of particular value to our larger community. Given recent world events, never has an Easter Appeal been more necessary or timely.
This year, we did not have to look far from home to identify an urgent need here among our neighbors. The Vestry is excited to announce that the beneficiary of this year’s Easter Appeal will be the Community Resource Center (CRC) in Mamaroneck. Our gift will be used to help the CRC ensure the safety and well-being of immigrant children, and keep immigrant families together wherever possible.
WHY THE CRC? WHY NOW? WHY A CRISIS?
Most of us are familiar with the Community Resource Center. It was formerly known as the Hispanic Resource Center, but recently changed its name to reflect the increasing diversity of our immigrant community. St. John’s has been a longtime supporter of the CRC through gifts from our outreach initiatives. Some may ask, then, why it was selected to be the recipient of our 2017 Easter Appeal.
Historically, the CRC’s goal has been to provide the tools necessary for immigrant families to become self-sufficient. Recent events have forced the CRC to divert already scarce money and manpower from its traditional services to address the deluge of requests the Center has received for help with immigration issues. Heartbreakingly, these inquiries most often concern immigrant children’s rights. As a result, one of the CRC’s most important services now is working with parents to create emergency plans designed to ensure their children’s care and safety and give their family its best chance to remain intact.
Just imagine for a moment the following actual situations:
- A father is raising two sons, alone, in Mamaroneck; his wife remains in Mexico with their other children. One son is in Mamaroneck High School, the other attends Hommocks Middle School, and each is doing well. Both sons are citizens—not through birthright citizenship, but through the legal application process. The father has made great sacrifices to give this opportunity to his sons, and is now afraid he will be deported. He faces the unimaginable prospect of leaving his two sons here so they can pursue the life he dreamt of for them—or taking them home where the family’s financial situation has deteriorated further due to recent flooding. The boys, like many other immigrant children seen at the Center, have begun to experience the symptoms of Post-Traumatic Stress.
- A married couple has three children, two of whom were born in this country. Both parents are undocumented, and in the current environment, could be deported without notice—and without two of their children. Over the last several weeks, they have frantically pieced together a family emergency plan which designates two documented persons as caretakers of their children, complete with power of attorney, should this happen. They recently used a substantial portion of their savings to purchase a round trip ticket for one of those guardians to escort their children to Mexico should it be necessary, rather than let them fly alone.
In supporting the CRC, St. John’s is making a Christian statement. These children are not strangers; they are in our midst. They are in school with our children. They are on our children’s soccer teams. Many are now at risk of being suddenly uprooted and left without support if adequate planning is not done. Their parents are like us: they want what’s best for their children, they are willing to make great personal sacrifice for them, and they are deathly worried about their safety. They are doing everything in their power—which is minimal compared to the ‘power’ of most of us—to plan for them, and to protect them from harm.
The CRC is committed to guiding members of our immigrant community through difficult times this year. Unfortunately, the Center lacks sufficient caseworker capacity to assist the approximately 240 clients who have sought help making emergency immigration plan packets without jeopardizing its ability to provide its traditional services in housing, eviction prevention, food security, and other social support. The CRC estimates that the cost of increasing two caseworkers’ time by 30 hours per week for 3 months would be $27,661. Funding in this area is critical to the Center’s timely efforts to help keep families in our immigrant community together.
St. John’s is known throughout the Westchester area for its generosity, compassion, and quick response to those in need. Please consider a generous gift to help our neighbors during this Easter season, and know you have made a real difference in many families’ lives. You can make donations to the Easter Appeal 2017 either via check made out to St. John’s with “Easter Appeal 2017” designated on the memo line or online using PayPal.
CLICK HERE TO MAKE AN ONLINE DONATION NOW. And, stay tuned for volunteer opportunities with the CRC!