Rapid Response Stories

Grace Immigrant Outreach

“It is better to light a candle than to curse the darkness” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Grace Immigrant Outreach is incredibly grateful for the support that was given to us from many organizations including the Foundation for Community Health.

The stories have been the same everywhere during this worldwide health crisis, yet once it hits home, and in our case the clients which we support, it quickly becomes true reality. Your generosity was received with enthusiasm and gratefulness. This has allowed us to do many things for the immigrant community. There are many stories to tell but we have chosen to tell the ones about how people come together to assist those in need. Since COVID-19 began to exist in the Northeastern Dutchess area, the need for food has grown quickly and the amount of people who lost their jobs was upsetting to say the very least.

We have installed a modem that has been greatly beneficial in so many ways. We were able to assist and complete the 2020 Census forms for all the immigrants that came to pick up their food on distribution Fridays. We assisted over 250 people. At the completion of each 2020 Census computer session, we distributed a local grocery store gift card. We were able to hire two food distribution assistants. They pick-up food from Food of Life, deliver it to MESA (Mission Episcopal Santiago Apostal), pack bags of produce and then distribute. They disinfect after the distribution. They attend the giveaway area that consists of clothing, kitchenware, housewares, games, shoes, etc.

Kira Peterson with Client

Kira Peterson, Grace Immigrant Outreach Program Assistant & client completing the 2020 Census online. Photo: Evelyn Elizabeth Garzetta


Donated Food

Donated bags of food from Food of Life/Comida de Vida Food Pantry, St. Thomas Episcopal Church, Amenia, NY. Photo: Evelyn Elizabeth Garzetta

Due to the purchase of the modem, we will begin Spanish Green Light Driver’s License online classes in January 2021. We received a $5000 grant from the New York Immigration Coalition Green Light 2021 to pay the driver’s license fee for those in need. We have begun a social distance, in person, basic ESL class in Dover. We can go online for lessons for these beginner students. We are now focused on Zoom and/or Facebook Advance ESL classes to begin in 2021.

Prior to Covid-19, procuring Maseca (which comes from "masa seca" = dry dough), i.e., dehydrated corn flour, was not an easy task and it is even harder now. With the funds from FCH, we can purchase between 200-250 bags per month. We distribute 50-55 bags per week. They are purchased through a restaurant distributer and are delivered to us by ‘Grannies Respond’ volunteers. Through Grannies Respond, they have shared produce that they receive from the Food Bank. The produce is delivered to MESA, the Episcopal Mission Church in Dover Plains. We have collaborated with Food of Life/Comida de Vida Food Pantry located at St. Thomas Episcopal Church since 2018. At that time, it was only 30 families, whereas today it is well over 55 families and continually growing.

On Friday November 20th, we distributed a Thanksgiving meal consisting of Turkey, stuffing, potatoes, yams, green beans, cranberry/apple sauce, gravy, a pumpkin pie, and whipped cream. For many years, GIO has had a Thanksgiving Dinner in the Parish Hall of Grace Episcopal Church Millbrook, NY on the Monday before Thanksgiving. This year we were not be able to host the feast, but we were able to distribute all the fixings for a traditional American Thanksgiving Dinner with the assistance of the grant from the Foundation for Community Health.

Kira Peterson and Sandra Rivera with Client

Kira Peterson, GIO Program Assistant, Sandra Rivera, Assistant Food Distribution Coordinator and Client. Photo: Evelyn Elizabeth Garzetta


Valarie & Pat Grannies Respond Members

Valarie & Pat Grannies Respond Members and volunteers delivering produce to MESA for distribution. Photo: Evelyn Elizabeth Garzetta

The Foundation for Community Health’s generous contribution has allowed over 225 people to have weekly cultural appropriate foods, which gives them a little part of their home country.

With deep gratitude and warmest regards,

Evelyn

Evelyn E. Garzetta ~ Director
Grace Immigrant Outreach (GIO)
Grace Church, Millbrook, NY
P.O. Box 366
3328 Franklin Avenue
Millbrook, NY 12545

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