Monday, 08 February 2016

St. Thomas More Catholic Church Helps Refugees in Phoenix

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Historically, churches have provided safe havens for the weary traveler. It's the same today, but now in partnership with Catholic Charities' refugee program, local parishes are accomplishing so much more.

Started by Sophia Yue and Fr. Jim Turner at St. Thomas More Catholic church in Glendale, Ariz., this parish decided to extend its reach to the hundreds of refugees coming to Phoenix each year by working with Catholic Charities.

“The St. Thomas More community supports the services and opportunities Catholic Charities provides for our brothers and sisters as they begin a new life,” said Virginia Meeker, St. Thomas More parish secretary.

St. Thomas More recently gave a $5,000 gift to help Catholic Charities purchase hygeine supplies for refugee families. For refugees, arriving without any money or belongings, initial financial support doesn't cover the cost for shampoo, soaps, toothpaste and other needed items. This is why hygeine supplies are so in demand.

"We are extremely grateful for their generosity and ongoing support of our refugees,” said Daniel Kelly, Catholic Charities refugee program manager. “The funds will be used to purchase hygiene supplies for some of our most vulnerable refugee families, as they transition into independent, self-sufficient members of our community. We are very humbled by this gift!”

Vibrant Refugee Ministry

The parish's support goes beyond financial to include volunteers organizing parish drives for household appliances, furniture, clothes and other items that are needed. Volunteers help set up homes for refugees arriving into Phoenix. The St. Thomas More community also provides gift cards at Christmas to help families enjoy the holiday season.

“Volunteers from St. Thomas More help with English as a second language (ESL) classes and job readiness,” said Pat Gillem, the volunteer coordinator for Catholic Charities refugee program.

“St. Thomas More Catholic church has a vibrant refugee ministry group dedicated to welcoming the stranger, helping us resettle, some of the world’s most vulnerable people," said Kelly. "What a great living example of the Year of Mercy!”

We are thankful for St. Thomas More Catholic church and their commitment to serving the most vulnerable in our community. If you would like to volunteer with our refugee program or any other program at Catholic Charities, please find one of the many ways you can get involved.

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