Fr. Patrick Angelucci, pastor of St. John Bosco Parish, said, “God is sending us people who need food. I met with the Salesian community, and we made a decision 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 throughout the year. “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,” explains Fr. Pat.
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 persons 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 their 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 counselling, online classes, transport of the sick to hospitals, and resources for accommodation of the sick or homeless.
Salesians throughout the province, in the United States and Canada, are doing their best to help those affected by the coronavirus. Eight communities out of sixteen 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. Over 1,400 families benefit from the food programs offered across the province. All are practicing the safety protocols of distancing and staying in place, while making these efforts to support others.
At the provincial house in New Rochelle, the Salesians placed bright LED bulbs in each window of the tower as a sign of support to health care workers, first responders, and those providing essential services.