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Nonprofit gears up for dramatic influx of refugees by reopening annual fundraiser sale

Jun 21, 2021

Refugee Indra and his family. Saint's Place gave Indra a laptop for his studies in the LPN program at Finger Lakes BOCES. He graduated in March 2021.
Credit photo provided

Saint's Place, a nonprofit in Pittsford dedicated to helping refugees resettle in the Rochester region, is gearing up for a dramatic surge in arrivals over the next year.

The Biden Administration has greatly raised the refugee admissions ceiling in the U.S.

In 2020, 87 refugees came to Rochester, according to Michele Quinn, associate director of Saint's Place. Between October 2021 and September 2022, nearly 10 times that number of refugees are expected to arrive locally.

"I think it's going to be an even bigger challenge this year when these 800 come in because housing is going to be a much bigger problem than it's ever been," Quinn said, adding the problems are because housing costs are high for refugees who have little money.

Saint's Place helps people settle into their new homes by providing furniture, kitchenware, bedding, and other household items. Beyond those basics, refugees receive school supplies. In 2018, the organization established a scholarship that offered assistance to 28 refugee students.

To offset those costs, the nonprofit is returning to its Super Sale, which was on hiatus last year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. A wide array of donated household and personal items will be on sale from July 7 through 10 at St. Louis Church, 64 S. Main St. in Pittsford.

On July 7, a "First Chance" sale is scheduled from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m. For a $10 admission fee, shoppers get first dibs on the merchandise.

Admission is free on July 8 (10 a.m. to 7 p.m.) and July 9 (9 a.m. to 6 p.m.).                    

A group of student refugees from Rochester International Academy who received laptops through the Saint's Place education fund in 2020.
Credit photo provided

A bag sale will be held July 10 from 9 a.m. to noon. Shoppers can load bags to the brim with any remaining items. They pay $10 for their first bag and $5 for each additional bag.

Most of the sale will take place inside the church, but Quinn said two outdoor tents will be set up for people who would like to maintain social distancing.

Saint's Place is not accepting any more donated items until July 16 because it has temporarily run out of storage space.