Cary church creates program to provide direct help to immigrants

A Cary church has created a position to serve the Spanish-speaking population directly without having to send them somewhere else for help.

Video Transcript

ED CRUMP: During the pandemic, the needy are often given a list of places to go for help, but that can be a dead end when they don't speak English. And that's why a church in Cary has started the SHARES program.

JOEL CARRERAS: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

ED CRUMP: At St. Michael the Archangel Catholic Church in Cary, they've hired a Spanish-speaking advisor to serve those who speak little or no English.

MARIA JUAREZ: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

MICHAEL BURBECK: I spent three years working in very underprivileged areas, especially with heavily Hispanic populations.

ED CRUMP: Father Michael Burbeck says when he arrived at St. Michael's, he realized many of those same people were here and also in need. So he started the SHARES program, which stands for Serving Hope, Assistance, Resources, and Emergency Support.

MICHAEL BURBECK: I pretty quickly wanted to try and turn and use our resources to try and meet those needs here in our own parish in our own town.

MICHAEL BURBECK: So he hired Joel Carreras to serve immigrants like Maria Juarez directly at the church instead of referring them to other agencies to help find things like housing, food, transportation, child welfare, and other essential services.

MARIA JUAREZ: [SPEAKING SPANISH]

INTERPRETER: It's great that these position that there's a case manager now hear in Cary so that families don't have to spend their gas money going towards Raleigh for assistance.

ED CRUMP: Because when you're a single mother of five, every dollar counts. People like Juarez are informed about the services in the community. That includes resources like the food pantry at the local Catholic Charities Organization, which St. Michael's is partnering with for the SHARES program.

MATY FERRER: That's an amazing effort from the church to be doing this, to offer this service to the community where families are. They're meeting them where they are.

ED CRUMP: That's especially important when someone speaks little English and navigating services can be very intimidating. And although the politics of immigration are a hot topic, Father Burbeck says his parishioners put that aside.

MICHAEL BURBECK: People see the difference between the person in front of them who's in need and the abstract political questions around immigration.

ED CRUMP: And for that, people like Maria Juarez and her children are grateful. Ed Crump, "ABC 11 Eyewitness News."

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