The many Afghan Refugees we helped was another day of learning for all. How we elevate and improve the Refugees' condition teaches us how to build community, which starts with love. This important ingredient is present in the mix of every Friday. Volunteers, who give much caring, time, donations, and personal help on Fridays and beyond, receive the fruits of kindness in return: lives made a little better, hope given.
We greeted 26 families in all! Though 38 adults with 23 of their children came to the Center, our 10 Volunteers packed provisions for many at-home spouses and children: a grand total of about 110 refugees served (more if newborns didn't make it in the tally)!
Hygiene products remain most needed. Necessities like diapers, laundry detergent, deodorant and sanitary pads are too expensive for families without an income yet. Weekly supplies of underwear and socks to give is a challenge for us, so we know it's near impossible for our Visitors to buy, if we can't furnish them.
Then there's the most satisfying for Refugees of all ages and Volunteers: bicycles with helmets, computers and sewing machines! Not just for utilitarian or fun uses, but for attaining freedom and opportunities in their new communities.
In 1896, women's rights activist Susan B Anthony, said “Let me tell you what I think of bicycling. I think it has done more to emancipate women than anything else in the world. I stand and rejoice every time I see a woman ride by on a wheel.”
I share that sentiment! We're uplifted every time a little girl, teen or her Mom leaves with a bicycle and a happy Dad who knows they will be welcome cycling in our communities.
~Pamela Van Swearingen, Coordinator