Our thoughts and prayers are with all of those that have been affected. During this time, our commitment remains the same—to come alongside our refugee neighbors and for them to experience abundant life in flourishing communities. How we do that will change significantly, at least in the short-term.
Friends of Refugees’ physical offices are closed, our programs’ regular group activities, classes, and open hours are suspended, while our staff is working remotely. At the same time, we are seeking to remain accessible and approachable to our community in appropriate ways. Our initial response is to remain committed to the families we serve and our nearly 70 part-time and full-time employees:
- We are continuing to serve our community remotely and through one-to-one activities – so pregnant women are still being supported with appointments, employers and candidates are being called and emailed, gardeners will register for their plots via appointments, and our family literacy team is keeping in touch with students and families.
- We are working with our local schools, community health partners, local churches, and other nonprofit partners to provide information, services, and nutrition for our refugee neighbors.
- We are committed to continuing to pay all of our employees during this time to ensure they can provide for their families and others that depend on them.
In the coming weeks, we will communicate ways that you can partner with us to care for the vulnerable in our community and support the Friends of Refugees family. In the meantime, we have suspended all Volunteer Orientation Classes and volunteer service opportunities.
We share the sentiment of Justin Lonas from the Chalmers Center who offered the challenge that we not merely survive during this time, but thrive. “But to do so will require love, compassion, and obedience that most of us have only lackadaisically applied before. Let us be known for our love in these times.”