By Alice Kenny
Ringed with garlands of evergreens and bows, St. Peter’s Church kicked off this year’s Three Kings Day celebration with a mass for the day laborer group, Oberos Unidos de Yonkers and their young families on Saturday, January 7. The nearly 300-member crowd — with children in tow — then moved to the gym below converted into Santa’s workshop. Children flocked to a stage brimming with trucks, teddies and toys and families feasted on ethnic specialties.
Organized by Catholic Charities staff and volunteers, the event offered respite for these day laborers who line up daily waiting for work during heat, rain and freezing snow.
It also served as a way to thank the day laborers for their hours volunteering, commuting by bus, train and ferry, to rebuild Staten Island homes destroyed by Hurricane Sandy.
Three Kings Day, widely celebrated in the Hispanic community, commemorates the Twelfth Day of Christmas when the three wise men arrived in Bethlehem to share with the infant Jesus their gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
This annual celebration is part of Catholic Charities’ ongoing involvement with Obreros Unidos of Yonkers. Catholic Charities educates workers about employment rights and responsibilities. It provides assistance to prevent exploitation and workplace abuses including help with collecting unpaid wages. It assists with integrating workers into society. It provides local resources including access to healthcare, emergency food and identification cards. And it offers a meeting space along with English as a Second Language and computer classes to help immigrants with their goal of acclimating and contributing to their new homeland.
Looking for more information about Obreros Unidos de Yonkers?
Click here or call 917-579-9048
Call the Catholic Charities Help Line — (888) 744-7900 — for help finding more services you need.