By Jan Sullivan
On November 14, more than two dozen St. Mark’s members and guests joined Rosi Crosby, chief strategy officer at Jewish Family Services of Delaware, to learn of the status of Afghan refugees arriving in Delaware. Those present included members of Good Shepherd, St. Stephen’s and St. Philip’s Lutheran Churches.
Jewish Family Services is the refugee resettlement agency in Delaware. Rosi reported that a few Afghan refugees have already arrived in Delaware and more are coming, possibly more than 30 by the end of the year. She explained volunteer “circles of care,” which are meant to support the refugees, including transportation and advice/support on settling in to the community.
St. Mark’s members donated more than a wagonload of towels, washcloths and bath products for refugees and their families and Rosi reported that all items were promptly distributed within a few days.
What can we do going forward? A lot! Consider one or more of these:
— Anyone who wishes to volunteer and/or join a “circle of care” could contact Jewish Family Services of Delaware at www.jfsdelaware.org/volunteer to complete a form, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more about JFS’ Refugee Integration Support Effort (RISE) and reach Rosi at email@example.com.
— If you wish to donate gently used furniture or household items, they cannot go directly to Jewish Family Services. Instead, take them to Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore, 3312 Seminole Avenue, Wilmington, DE 19808. Habitat’s phone number is (302) 652-5181. Call ahead and let them know you are bringing these items for Jewish Family Services or the Refugee Integration Support Effort (RISE).
— Used clothing in good condition can be taken to Friendship House Clothing Bank, 1603 Jessup Street, Suite 3, Wilmington, DE 19802 from 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday through Thursday. The phone number there is (302) 654-1390. JFS will refer refugees there as needed. Monetary donations specifically for refugees can be forwarded to Jewish Family Services, earmarked RISE, and sent to 99 Passmore Road, Wilmington, DE 19803. Donations can also be made online at www.jfsdelaware.org.
— Additionally, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services encourages us to support the Afghan refugees by contacting our U.S. Congressional Delegation through a convenient form here: https://www.votervoice.net/LIRS/campaigns/89654/respond? Most of our Afghan neighbors are arriving with humanitarian parole, which only temporarily allows people fleeing danger to remain in the U.S. These Afghans will need to find another pathway to safety once their parole expires. To ensure that Afghans find real, lasting safety in the U.S., Congress must pass the Afghan Adjustment Act, which would allow Afghan humanitarian parolees to seek legal permanent residence in the United States.