Former Major League slugger Darryl Strawberry will be in Rochester for this year’s Catholic Charities Community Services Breakfast With Friends event March 15 at the Floreano Riverside Convention Center.

Breakfast With Friends will go from 8:00 to 9:30 a.m. with doors opening at 7:30 a.m. Strawberry, who played for the Mets, Yankees, Dodgers and Giants, won four World Series championships during his Major League career. He also struggled with addiction, spending time in jail before finding a path to recovery. 

Catholic Charities Community Services Executive Director Lori VanAuken discussed the excitement around Strawberry’s anticipated remarks Friday during News 8 at Sunrise.

“We are so fortunate this year to bring in Darryl Strawberry,” said VanAuken. “He’s going to be coming to join us and share his story of recovery and hope, and share how his faith got him to that point.”

Strawberry seemingly had it all as a perennial Major League All-Star, but he has faced many challenges in his life. “He is an Ordained Minister,” VanAuken noted. “He’s actually done some work in setting up a center for autism in the midwest, and he’s really coming to inspire people – his audience all over the country where he speaks – to remind them that there is hope in recovering from addiction or challenges, serious health challenges, and really drew on his faith to be able to get him to the point where he was able to turn his ‘mess’ into a ‘message’ from God.”

Strawberry’s message is one that should resonate to many in our community. “So many people have challenges in their lives,” VanAuken said. “We at Community Services work with folks who have serious mental health issues, people who are living with chronic conditions live HIV, traumatic brain injuries, disabilities, and so our folks have a lot of challenges and often they too really draw on their faith and some help to make the most of their life and be as independent and productive as possible.”

Strawberry is also an author and will be signing copies of his books. VanAuken believes his presence and the support of many sponsors will make this year’s Breakfast With Friends a huge boost to the programs and services offered by Catholic Charities Community Services. “We are so grateful to Rochester Colonial, to M&T Bank, to our sponsors Wegmans and also Mason Marketing, Mason Digital and so many others who have been very generous to support and help underwrite the cost of our event. I should mention too, we have a special matching gift from the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation. So during the day of the event, for every dollar that’s donated day of the Foundation will match two dollars.”

Tickets for Breakfast With Friends, featuring Darryl Strawberry, are on sale now. You can purchase tickets and find more information about the event online at