Opportunity is Knocking: Assisting Guatemalan refugees
For the past few months Faith Lutheran Church, 801 E. Camelback Road, Phoenix, has been furnishing space each Thursday for the Guatemalan Consulate to bring refugees who are seeking asylum in the U.S. The Consulate staff and volunteers feed them a hot meal, provide them with clothes and hygiene items, and arrange for medical care if warranted. They sometimes provide them with a place to sleep overnight, but ultimately the refugees are given bus or airline tickets to go to other parts of the country to be with family. Because this is not typically what the Consulate is responsible for, there is no budget for any of this and they greatly depend on assistance from the community.
Faith’s Community Ministry is ready to help, but we need members of our congregation, people from our community, and hopefully, other congregations to get involved. There is much to be done, and it will continue as long as the refugees continue to come into the U.S. This is not a job for any one person. Below are the areas in which the Consulate currently needs assistance:
HOT MEALS ON THURSDAYS
Provide and serve a meal of a hearty chicken with rice soup, corn tortillas, a beverage,and a simple dessert (pound cake or a cookie).
HOST FAMILIES FOR REFUGEES
Pick up a refugee family from Faith at the end of the day Thursday and take them home for a shower and a good night’s sleep.
Provide them with a snack when they arrive at your home and breakfast the following morning.
Take the refugee family to the bus station, the airport, or back to the Consulate on Friday morning.
THIS IS CURRENTLY THE CONSULATE’S MOST DIRE NEED.
BACKPACK PROGRAM—These will then be handed out, one per family.
Donate travel size hygiene items. (We will provide you with a list of needed items.)
Fill backpacks with the hygiene items that have been donated.
Donate fruit, granola bars, juice boxes, and other non-perishable snacks that can be takenas the refugees travel to their destination.
Pack snack sacks.
Donate gently-used clothing, stuffed animals, and/or new socks and underwear (men's, women's and children's).
Donations are on-going and can be dropped off at our Church Office during office hours (M-F, 9am-1pm).
If you would like to help in any way, please contact Faith’s Church Office at 602-265-3394 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
—Deedee Ursin & Mike Valder, Faith’s Community Ministry Coordinators