February 2022: The Refugee Mission Ministry (RMM) team introduced volunteer and donation opportunities to the First Pres GE Congregation through a new partnership with Exodus World Service. The RMM team is grateful for all who volunteered and donated. Here is what we have been doing since our inception. To date we have delivered numerous Hospitality Trays to new refugee families, delivered two complete Welcome to America packs and have welcomed a refugee through the New Neighbor program.
The first New Neighbor program for this congregation began last February when Exodus World Service came to us with a special request. Exodus asked our team to help an Afghan refugee (single woman) to find housing and then help her set up her apartment as she had already secured employment in the area. (This is a bit unusual, since the refugees normally come to Exodus with housing already arranged, basic furniture provided and usually no job.) Because this was outside the “norm”, the RMM team accepted this challenge and found an apartment in Glen Ellyn, helped furnish it and provided a Welcome to America pack for her. Not only is the team helping with transportation to and from work but also provides occasional trips to the grocery store and other errands, as needed. This travel time, five days a week, allows the team much-needed “New Neighbor” connection with her through the answers to answer any questions she might have and to gently guide her when needed.
On August 9th, Exodus asked us if we had a Welcome to America pack for a Ukrainian family who recently arrived in the area. We did have a pack ready to go and with the help of volunteers, we added the bedding and extra Ukrainian food items tailored to their culture and needs. This family is located in Des Plaines and consists of a husband and wife and their 4-year-old son. The items were delivered on Friday, August 12. The family was very excited to get all of the wonderful things. We will never really know the impact of our generosity on refugee families, but as far as this delivery goes it is HUGE! The family from Ukraine thanks you and we, the RMM team, are grateful for all that you do to bless the lives of these families.
We feel blessed to be a part of and to see the appreciation and excitement that these items bring to someone arriving from a foreign country with one suitcase of clothes. Your donations to this effort have been awesome. As a congregation, we have collected everything for two Welcome to America packs and have about half of another Welcome to America pack waiting for the next call from Exodus. If you would like to donate to this next Welcome to America pack you can go here and select the item(s) that you would like to donate. Then you can shop for them online and ship directly to the church (Attn: David Profitt) or shop for them in person and drop them in the box at the NW entrance.
Many thanks and Blessings to you all.
Your Refugee Mission Ministry Team