By Linda Larrimer

Join Refugee Task Force members in Brownlee Hall on Sunday, April 9 after the 11 AM service to meet and greet the Iraqi and Syrian refugee families that volunteers have been assisting these last months.  This is an opportunity for you to meet Jasim Altwai and his family and the Kalifehs and for these families to thank the congregation for your generosity.

Jasim Altwai, an accountant, his wife, Khawlah, a biology teacher and one son, Humam, arrived on April 5 last year from Turkey.  In June they were joined by another son, Amar, and his wife and 3 children. Jasim and Khawlah raised 6 children in Bagdad, but fled to Mosul during the Iraq war.  When the situation in Mosul became equally unsafe, the family moved to Turkey.  FCC sponsored the family and helped with their settlement in Columbus.  With generous donations from the FCC congregation, Jasim, Khawlah, and Humam’s two bedroom apartment was completely furnished down to the pots and pans in the kitchen. Humam now works for a transportation company at John Glenn International Airport while taking English classes at Columbus State.

The generosity in our congregation has also greatly benefited the Kalifehs, a Syrian family of seven. After 4 years in Egypt, the Kalifehs arrived with suitcases of clothes, limited English skills, and not much else.  In the past two months, the family of FCC members, Al and Miriam Clark, donated loads of furniture and household goods to furnish their home in the Linden area and Doug and Eileen Covell donated a minivan that will accommodate the entire family.  These members’ generosity was amplified by the many volunteers who moved furniture, helped get the 5 children enrolled and transported to school, and continue to tutor the family in English.

It is your offerings, on Easter Sunday, April 16, that provide the Refugee Task Force its primary revenue and allow the Task Force to assist with the resettlement of refugees in our community.  The Task Force partners with the Community Refugee and Immigration Service (CRIS) providing not only monetary support especially in emergency situations, but also many hours of volunteer service to ensure the needs of refugees are covered.  Since last year’s Easter Offering the Refugee Task Force has provided financial assistance to eighteen families.

Please help the Refugee Task Force continue their aid to refugee families in Columbus and give generously to the Special Offering.