SJNC to mark 30 years with fundraiser

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St. Joseph’s Neighborhood Center will celebrate its 30th anniversary this week with a tasting and auction.   

Formed by six Sisters of St. Joseph, the South Avenue center helps the Rochester community in many ways, primarily by offering health care and mental health counseling for people who need it but can’t afford it. More than 80 health care professionals work or volunteer their time at the center, which also draws student interns and counselors and social workers. Altogether, more than 250 volunteers work an average of 850 hours a month, a total value of $2 million annually, St. Joseph’s estimates.

“We fundamentally believe that health care is a human right,” says Executive Director Jennifer Sahrle. “Everyone should be able to obtain services regardless of insurance status or ability to pay.” 

Since the center’s inception in 1993, more than 35,000 people have been helped, and in 2022 (the latest numbers available), the center had ​​5,800 separate visits from 1,400 individuals. Around 70 percent of St. Joseph’s patients are the working poor. Roughly 1,000 clients are treated each year by phone or email.

St. Joseph’s operates with an annual budget of $1.3 million, with more than three-fourths of that amount coming from donations. It receives no federal, state or local government support.

“We are truly grateful for our event volunteers, supporters, and sponsors for believing in our mission of a healthier community with access to affordable care for all,” Sahrle says.

Sponsors of the June 5 fundraising event include ESL Federal Credit Union, Highland Hospital and Wegmans. It will be held at 5:30 p.m. at Temple B’rith Kodesh.

Charles Schaff is a Rochester Beacon intern, a rising junior at Ithaca College and a member of the Beacon Oasis Project’s inaugural cohort. The Beacon welcomes comments and letters from readers who adhere to our comment policy including use of their full, real name. Submissions to the Letters page should be sent to [email protected]

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