Our Partnership with Samaritas
First Presbyterian Church has worked in partnership with Samaritas since 2018. Our effort started modestly, when two of our members prompted by disturbing news coverage of the Syrian refugee crisis attended an informational meeting on Samaritas’ New Americans program. Our volunteer efforts began soon after that meeting and now four years later our church is an official co-sponsoring organization, working in partnership with samaritas caseworkers. Our work has two main facets.
The first is furniture and household item delivery. Caseworkers connect us to newly arrived individuals or families who need furniture or household items. We collect new or gently used items and deliver them directly to refugees at their homes. In 2021 our church was able to deliver furniture and/or household items to 15 families! Each delivery is unique as each family has unique needs. We tried to be welcoming new neighbors for these New Americans who are starting their lives over in our state.
The second piece of our ministry is called our welcome team. The welcome team is a group of trained volunteers who work collaboratively to support an individual Refugee or family more comprehensively as they begin their life here in Michigan. We have had the privilege of serving as a welcome team three times. Each time the refugee(s) have stayed with a family in our community while members of the welcome team do the best that they can to help navigate their first months in their new home. Typical volunteer roles include teaching driving, helping to navigate the Secretary of State, providing transportation to appointments or work, helping to enroll in school or ESL courses, and other mentorship.
Understanding that a refugee made many sacrifices in order to arrive in Michigan . They have left behind their language, their culture, their country, and often close family members in order to seek safety. We want to make sure that they feel loved and welcomed in our community.
Anyone who feels that they have a heart for this ministry is welcome to join our efforts. We are always looking to add to our team. We could always especially use help with transportation and deliveries.