ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Remembering those who were lost, while helping those who are sometimes forgotten. That was the theme of a street outreach event in a Rochester neighborhood facing many of society’s biggest challenges.

It could be any city. Any neighborhood. But this is Rochester. And Aliecia Rodriguez is here to help.

“I have family members, loved ones that are in the streets,” said Rodriguez, as she assisted neighbors during a community outreach event on Lyell Avenue Tuesday. “Still in the street. It’s hard.”

Rodriguez first joined Cameron Community Ministries as a volunteer. She now serves as food pantry coordinator in a neighborhood where the need is great. Poverty, prostitution, drugs and violence are a sad reality in this Lyell Avenue neighborhood.  

While there are no easy answers to the problems, folks from Cameron Community are providing one solution, while providing comfort in the form of a meal, clothing and care.

“Everybody puts blame here, here, there,” said Rodriguez. “But it all has to do with a community coming together, supporting each other and building each other up.”

The outreach event serves not only those who are here, but those who are not — with a memorial to those lost to the streets.

“He’s going to be missed,” said one man as he wrote a letter honoring a friend who was killed in a police-related shooting. “He was struggling himself, but he always helped other people who were struggling too.”

“It’s a lifestyle that you just want to put in the past,” said Rodriguez. “You want to be able to help figure out what is needed in our community, to progress and get better, and help the community out so we're not dealing with losses in the streets.”

Issues in a Rochester neighborhood that could happen anywhere. With neighbors taking care of their own.

“It's a beautiful thing,” said Rodriguez. “It feels good.”