Dear Members and Friends,
We are writing with an update about what we are hearing regarding the needs of refugees who are currently in our area, as well as those who are now arriving from Afghanistan.
As many of you know, Rock Spring has a Welcome the Stranger working group that is dedicated to helping refugees. Over the past couple of years we have developed strong partnerships with organizations that work with refugees in the area, and in the past week there are several of us who have been in communication with them.
The #1 need is housing – both temporary and longer term. If you have the ability to offer temporary housing, that would be most welcome. Also, if you have connections with property managers or rental firms, please consider identifying apartments and townhouses available for the refugees to rent. This would be in coordination with the resettlement agencies and others assisting the newcomers.
Christ Church in Old Alexandria and NOVA Friends of Refugees are seeking people who are mental wellness professionals or have access to them who can assist pro bono or at affordable rates.
The following survey: Google Survey is collecting volunteer information that will be shared across resettlement agencies.
Thanks to those of you who have volunteered to call and offer encouragement to some of the refugees who are here and highly anxious about the situation in Afghanistan and how it is impacting their families. We will be in touch in the coming days with more information and other opportunities for engagement.
Finally, at this Saturday’s Compassion Camp Olympics we will be filling 125 backpacks for refugee children. Thank you for your generous donations for this! If you want to come help fill the backpacks, we are gathering at 10:00 a.m. on Saturday in Neighborhood House.
All the great religions tell us to aid those in need and welcome the stranger. Thank you for helping us to live into these principles.
If you have questions or want to connect on any of these initiatives, please reach out to any of us (our emails are linked in the signatures below).
With prayers for peace,
Wayne Limberg, JJ Gardiner, & Kathy Dwyer
P.S. If you would like to receive updates specifically about our involvement with refugees, please email us.