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In September and October, we partnered with Samaritas to build our resources as the Afghan refugees awaited security and health clearances on U.S. air bases across the world. To date, we have raised over $78,000 to support these people so that they can rebuild their lives here after supporting our troops so faithfully.
We also built up our volunteer network. More than 40 people from the parish stepped forward to get the required clearances they need to provide translation, food, clothing, furniture, transportation, and other support for these families.
In November, we welcomed a 21-year-old mother and her two-year-old son. Gerald and Margaret Matthes, pillars in our parish, opened their home to this wonderful family; we are incredibly grateful for their faithful service and generosity.
Our first family will remain with us for the foreseeable future. They are staying in an apartment temporarily and we are working to find longer term housing as well as childcare. We look forward to continuing to support these two as they settle into life here.
On Thursday, December 16, we picked up another family – a former soldier, who is 27 years old and mother to her seven-year-old daughter. Working with local connections, we have rented a basement apartment from a wonderful landlord, who is fluent in Dari, one of the languages of Afghanistan. This family is slowly adjusting to life here, and we are working with Samaritas to evaluate and finalize their plans based upon their best interests.
It nearly goes without saying that there is no better way to celebrate Christmas than to welcome these two families. We are making room in the manger of our lives so that these vulnerable people can reclaim their lives. If you are interested in volunteering, supporting, or serving in any way, please contact Jill Andree at firstname.lastname@example.org.