Supporting Refugees from Afghanistan

As we continue to pray for those impacted by the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, we aim to live out the biblical call to welcome the stranger and demonstrate loving hospitality to those in need. As refugees arrive in the U.S. seeking resettlement and welcome, our church can play a part in offering care and love.

First Presbyterian is partnering with Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, a local agency involved with resettlement efforts in our area. Because support for refugees involves a vulnerable population with varied and nuanced needs, we can do our most effective work in partnership with JFS, within the well-run systems they already have established.   You can learn more about these services here.

An Opportunity for Giving: As JFS has started receiving more refugee families from Afghanistan, they have simplified their sign-up to invite in-kind donations. At this link, you can find a sign-up genius page with the current needs JFS has for various household items. You can sign up there if you would like to donate any of these items. JFS also welcomes monetary donations, and we will have more details soon about how First Pres will partner more explicitly in these efforts. 
 
An Opportunity for Volunteering: If you are interested in more hands-on work, you may choose to register as a volunteer with JFS to quickly be able to help as families arrive and needs arise. When you sign up, JFS will send you more information so that you will be properly trained and prepared to do this work. 
 
An Opportunity for Housing Connections: As more and more refugees arrive in our area, JFS is working to find safe, affordable housing for all. While JFS is not currently seeking to house refugee families as guests in others’ homes, they are hoping to connect with landlords and property management companies willing to rent to individuals without credit histories. JFS has funding to help pay rent, but seeks community connections for potential landlords. Do you have a connection that might be able to help meet this need? Contact Mira Sussman at JFS: miras@jfsannarbor.org
 

If you are interested in getting involved with upcoming efforts, or have any questions, contact Resident Minister Rev. Hannah Lundberg, hlundberg@firstpresbyterian.org.

Below is an update (10/15/2021) from our friends at Jewish Family Services:

The resettlement team is starting to welcome Afghan parolees from the military bases. Two cases arrived last week, three cases arrived this week, and one is scheduled for next week - so far! This is in addition to the refugee cases we have already committed to resettle. We are working hard to get temporary housing and food to the individuals and families as they arrive.

How can you help?

As we secure permanent housing, we will be looking for help with moving the families in and getting them settled. We need volunteers to help with the following:

Move-in Day - Furniture Volunteers:  Assist with picking up, delivering, setting up, and putting together furniture for newly arrived refugees. All volunteers will need to be able to lift/maneuver heavy items.

Move-in Day - Household Items Volunteers:  Assist with cleaning and setting up new homes (making beds, putting dishes away, hanging shower curtains, etc.).

Grocery Donation Volunteer:  Purchase and deliver culturally appropriate groceries to newly arrived refugees. Suggested grocery list will be provided. Can utilize a grocery delivery service or drop off the items yourself (mask required). Groceries are needed upon arrival at temporary housing and upon move in to permanent housing.

Food Pantry Helpers:  Assist JFS staff in our specialty food pantry. Newly arrived refugees depend on the culturally appropriate food that is available to them through our pantry for as long as they need. Refugees wait 2-4 weeks to receive food assistance benefits and often the amount is not enough to cover the costs of their groceries. JFS food pantry bridges the gap and supplements food they are not able to get otherwise, at no cost.

In-kind Donations (Household Items/Furniture/Clothing/etc.):  If you have items that you would like to donate to JFS for resettlement clients, please send photos of the items to Patty Benson at, pbenson@comcast.net.

For security reasons, JFS cannot accept unsolicited in-kind donations.

If you are interested in volunteering to help, click here to get started.