Volunteer Ministry To The Aging
The aged of today were the backbone and support of the parish during its years of growth. Providing the services described below is a small way of saying “Thank you” and of demonstrating to our Senior citizens that the parish has not forgotten them.
Nursing Home Volunteers
Participants in this activity spend one or two hours a week visiting and interacting with residents in the nearby nursing homes which are served by St. Gabriel’s in its regular ministry: The Riverdale Nursing Home, the Fieldston Lodge Nursing Home and the Fairfield Division of the Hebrew Home. The Frances Schervier Home and Hospital is served in an auxiliary capacity. The volunteers bring news of the outside world and give the residents an opportunity to talk about their interests. In many cases, the residents’ reminiscences reveal fascinating facts about their active days and the visit becomes one of reciprocal enjoyment and fulfillment. Added to this is the enormous satisfaction the volunteers derive from performing a truly Christian act. If you too would like to “make a difference,” call the Rectory.
Interfaith caregivers of the Northwest Bronx is another service provided by St. Gabriel’s Ministry to the Aging. It seeks to develop community between volunteers and the home bound elderly from diverse neighborhoods of the Bronx. The trained volunteers provide support and assistance to help the homebound continue to live with independence and dignity. Periodic phone calls, escorting to treatments or doctors appointments and just a simple walk is a source of much joy and satisfaction for both the caregiver and the care receiver.
Prisoner And Victim Empowerment
Our PAVE volunteers reach out and respond to the needs of the prisoners at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility and endeavor to journey with both prisoners and those who are crime victims, providing the spiritual and emotional support they need at this time in their lives.
Respect Life Committee
Promoting Christian awareness of important human life issues from abortion to euthanasia is the concern of the Respect Life Committee. The committee distributes educational materials to promote life values, plans the Respect Life Sunday activities, and coordinates the January bus trip and visit with legislators in Washington. Funds and gifts are raised annually to benefit one or another institution where the corporal works of mercy are performed to help pregnant women and their children. The committee also sponsors lecture series on life issues. All parishioners are invited to join.
Thanksgiving Clothing Collection
A Thanksgiving clothing collection takes place annually, usually on the Saturday and Sunday proceeding Thanksgiving Day. At that time parishioners bring new and used clothing to the St. Vincent de Paul Society truck parked in the school yard. Hundreds of pounds of usable clothing have been donated in the past for distribution to the poor.
Under St. Gabriel’s Table-Share program, at announced times during the year, shopping bags are placed at the church exits for parishioners to take home and, following the instructions in each bag, to return on a specified date containing the canned goods requested. During a five-week period of staggered return dates, volunteers collect and deliver the cans to a local food pantry for distribution to the poor.
St. Gabriel Meal-A-Month
St. Gabriel’s Parish has joined with sixteen other parishes and congregations of various denominations in the area in preparing and serving a noontime meal to over 170 men and women hosted by the Yonkers Sharing Community shelter and soup kitchen for the homeless.
Parishioners participate in preparing one or more tins of ziti, which they bring to Walsh Hall on the morning of the second Friday of each month, or to the Rectory the previous evening. On that Friday morning, the volunteers prepare meatballs which are added to the ziti. The finished product is transported to the Community by volunteers, who remain to serve the day’s guests. Occasional donations of homemade cookies or cakes are welcome additions to the parish-prepared meal.
The project has grown since its inception as has the need for more volunteer cooks, servers and transporters. More detailed information will gladly be supplied by the Rectory.
The Giving Tree
The Giving Tree has become a special way for St. Gabriel parishioners of all ages to observe the season of Advent in preparation for Christmas.
The project enlists the talents and generosity of the entire St. Gabriel community, beginning with the children of the parish. The youngsters prepare colored paper cut-outs on which are listed specific items needed by individuals and families whose names have been submitted by social service agencies.
The cut-outs are hung on the Giving Tree, which is placed in a prominent spot in church on the first Sunday of Advent. Parishioners are invited to take one or more of the colorful figures, shop for the items requested and return them to the tree, wrapped as gifts and identified by the original cut-out. Many requests are for clothing and toys for needy children.