It’s been a whirlwind. Our family tried tacos (no salsa - that’s too spicy) and Puerto Rican rice yesterday. Some of them enjoyed it quite a bit. The parents are still adjusting to different flavor profiles.
We found out they’ve been on a journey since May 18th. 180 days. 1-8-0. They have no home to return to, due to oppressive governments and warring factions. No home to return to. Seeking belonging.
Many of you are asking how to come alongside and help. Here are some ways:
To volunteer for any of these opportunities, please email firstname.lastname@example.org or send us a message through our Facebook account.
Coordinator - Do you like to organize people? We could use help as a family coordinator for this family. Matching their needs with our volunteers’ abilities.
Cultural Orientation - We have a written manual that we use to help newcomers adjust to life in the United States. We need a person or two to meet with the parents 2-3 times over the coming few weeks, and (with the help of an interpreter) go through this manual with them.
Transportation Assistance - Our family needs to get places. We need a driver with a large van (or maybe 2 drivers of smaller vehicles) to help get them to medical appointments, legal appointments, trips to the grocery store, etc. They will also eventually need their own transportation, so any leads on a low-cost 7-passenger vehicle would be appreciated.
Grocery Cards - For the host family to be able to purchase food for their 7 guests. AND a volunteer to take a grocery trip to an ethnic supermarket with Mom where she can purchase ingredients for meals to remind them of home.
Medical/Vision Care - The school-age children will have wellness checks and vaccinations done for free in Hammond. Dad injured his shoulder on a dangerous part of the journey, and both he and Mom probably need a good physical. He was also mentioning a problem with his eyes.
Meals - If you can have our family over for a meal, that would bless them and give our Host Family some down time as well. It will also be a chance to practice English.
Clothing - New or “good as new” clothing is needed, especially winter/warm clothing, for Mom (Size L), Dad (32/M), and the kids (kids sizes: 18/XL Girl, 12/L Boy, 8/M Girl, 5-6 Boy, and 3T Girl).
Shoes - New or “good as new” shoes and boots needed. We are finding out sizes.
Blessing/ Being Blessed Skill Opportunities - Mom and Dad can’t be employed yet, but they will hopefully be legally employable within the next 2-3 months. Dad was in the carpenter trade back home, and Mom is a skilled Hair Braider. She is also a great cook. One legal/ethical way to bless and be blessed in the meantime would be to invite them to use their skills to bless you. You may then choose to make a contribution to a designated fund that we can use to help get them independent. Also, be thinking about places they could work at when their authorization comes in.
Childcare / Play Opportunities - The kids love to play! Would you be available for playdates or childcare? Or taking them to Sunday evening or Wednesday evening opportunities such as Awana or youth group?
Tutors / Coffee Partners - Kids will start school next week. Mom and Dad will start a daily English program on Monday as well. Would you be able to come volunteer your time once a week to help give them individual assistance with homework or English acquisition? Or meet the parents over coffee?
Funds - As an organization, The Welcome Network doesn’t receive any government funding for helping asylum seekers. We exist as an arm of the interdenominational Christian community in the Chicago area. Donations of any amount are needed to keep doing what we do. Please consider giving a one-time gift or setting up a monthly recurring gift. Click the upper-right corner of your screen, and then click the DONATE button to give.