Rochester-area migrant families celebrate holidays

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BROCKPORT, N.Y. – The Brockport Migrant Education Program is making sure no one is left out of the holiday season.

For 40 years, the State University of New York at Brockport has been making sure migrant families are able to celebrate the holidays together.

Like the Chaves family. They live in Medina, but are originally from Mexico.

“It’s very important because it shows how the people appreciate our culture as Mexicans,” Leonarda Chaves said.

Chaves and her family say it’s hard to be together because of work. The distance becomes more emotional around the holidays.

“Working families move with their work because that’s the nature of they do. That’s what they do working in agriculture,” Brockport Migrant Education Program Regional Director Magaly Rosario said.

The program offers educational support to the children of migrant agricultural workers and Brockport is one of nine programs providing these services in New York State.

Sunday’s event was held in association with Grupo Cultural Latinos En Rochester, Inc., and planned and funded by the Hispanic Association for Professional Advancement, Rochester Chapter. Families were able to sit and share a meal, the kids got presents, and Santa made a surprise visit.

The day was put together “for children to be able to have this and for Christmas receive these gifts and this opportunity to just laugh and play and enjoy maybe something they wouldn’t be able to experience at all,” Rosario said.

“I appreciate it – but God first because if it wasn’t for him, putting kindness in people’s hearts, to donate stuff for the kids who really do need it,” Luis Chavez said.