Contact Nancy Hagan (919) 552-2922
Assists needy families in the area, working with Southern Regional Center, help with utilities, rent, medical etc.
You shall also love the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt (Dt 10:19).
Helping with needs of people in the community.
Hundreds of Mexican men annually work on contract with local growers to produce tobacco and other cash crops. The men arrive by bus throughout the growing season and live together in “camps” on the grower’s land, where they are typically isolated by language, lack of transportation and long hours of work. In addition, many families migrate to North Carolina on a seasonal basis from other states in the United States and spend from one to several months in the area. Volunteers from Saint Bernadette offer a vital link to parish life to farm workers and migrants.
The Office of Hispanic Ministry plans, coordinates and conducts outreach and advocacy with farm workers and migrants. There are many ways that you can serve, whether or not you speak Spanish.
What can I do?
Provide Transportation to Mass on Sunday:
Every Sunday during growing season (May to October), groups of volunteers from St. Bernadette follow a lead driver along one of three routes (Angier, Fuquay-Varina, Willow Spring) to pick up farm workers, bring them to the 5 PM Sunday Mass and then return them home after dinner (approximately 7 PM). We meet at the church at 3 PM and travel together; you do not need to be familiar with the local countryside in order to drive. Each week we rely on approximately 15 volunteers to serve in this ministry. Schedules are set by Thursday for the coming Sunday.
Drivers to and from Mass are our greatest ongoing need. Please prayerfully consider participating in this outreach.
Volunteer at the Sunday evening screening clinic:
Nurses, EMTs, mid level providers and physicians volunteer at a weekly screening clinic held from May through September at St. Bernadette after the 5 PM Mass on Sundays. Farm workers are seen on Sundays and if necessary, referred to the Wake County Human Service Migrant Clinic which is held each Thursday evening in Fuquay. Health care providers are needed on Sundays to take vitals, document the visit and triage need. Translators are also needed (1/week). Two health care volunteers are needed each Sunday; some medical Spanish language proficiency helpful but not necessary. Time commitment: Approximately 2 hours/week, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. Training to be provided in late April.
Serve on the spiritual care team:
The parish community is invited to accompany the pastor to the camps on a weekly basis for house blessings, recitation of the rosary, Mass and Catholic fellowship. Schedule varies. The group meets at the church at 7 PM and travels together to camp. Time commitment: approximately two hours mid-week during the summer months.
Donate over the counter (OTC) medications:
OTCs are dispensed in the screening clinic and on visits by staff to the camps. Many farm workers have limited access to stores and medications, and they may not have the English language skills needed to read labels and instructions. The clinic collects OTC medications and vitamins that can be distributed by volunteers to workers under the advisement of healthcare professionals on an “as-needed” basis. Particular demand is for Ibuprofen, Dramamine, Benadryl, antifungals and hydrocortisone, all of which are used in the treatment of work-related conditions. Donations can be dropped off at the Office of Hispanic Ministry during regular office hours or on Sundays between 3 and 7 PM. For information on farm worker health issues, go to: www.farmworkerhealth.org/library.html or www.krpc.com/proffed/gts/greentobacco.cfm
Donate, help sort or distribute men’s clothing:
Men’s clothing is collected year round and distributed to farm workers throughout the growing season. The men are allowed to bring only two small bags with them when they come from Mexico, and throughout the season they are in need of good, used or new clothing, especially:
Clothing is distributed after Mass on Sunday evenings. Two volunteers are needed weekly for this ministry.
Donate blankets, sheets and bedding:
Neither mattresses nor bedding are required by law to be provided to farm workers by the growers that contract them. St. Bernadette has a ministry, “Our Brother’s Keeper” that makes and donates quilts to those in need, including farm workers. For more information on this ministry, please contact Jo Ann Gross at 762-1759. To donate bedding directly to migrant ministry, please contact Nancy Hagan at 552-2922.
Prepare, serve or clean up when St. Bernadette serves migrant meals:
St. Bernadette is the host site for weekly meals and fellowship with farm workers each Sunday from May to September after the 5 PM Mass. Ten local congregations take turns sponsoring and serving these meals. Summer, 2011 dates will be posted on this site as soon as they are confirmed. Time commitment for servers and clean up crew is about three hours. Contact person for St. Bernadette meals: Nancy Hagan at 552-2922.
Increase public awareness and participate in advocacy:
*Speakers are available to come to your school, congregation or group to present farm worker issues as well as ways that you can get involved. Please call the St. Bernadette Office of Hispanic Ministry at 552-2922 for more information or to schedule a speaker. You can also access the following links for detailed information about the current status of farm workers in North Carolina: * Legislative action and advocacy are coordinated by the following groups: www.saf-unite.org (Student Action for Farm workers), www.FLOC.com (Farm Labor Organizing Committee) and www.nccouncilofchurches.org (North Carolina Council of Churches). * Fact sheets about farm worker conditions are available at: econ.pdf, immig.pdf, us.pdf and nc_facts.pdf.
Volunteer on garden work days. We provide the tools. No green thumb is needed. Donate: seeds, garden implements, tools, plants, gloves and financial support are all a big help. Tell your friends and neighbors about the garden. Help us share the harvest. Produce will be shared with the Saint Bernadette food pantry, migrant ministry, and local residents in need. For more information, or to volunteer please call Nancy Hagan, director of Social Outreach at (919) 552-2922.
"Whoever has a bountiful eye will be blessed, for he shares his bread with the poor."