Ways Hamilton Churches Are Getting Involved with Refugees: Part 2

8. Furniture/Clothing/Food Distribution: This has taken different formats such as-

a) gathering donations of good quality clothing and household items and inviting people to a one time event where everything is set up (in the church basement or gym etc) and people are free to choose whatever they need.

b) churches gather clothing and household items that they anticipate newcomers will need. These are kept in storage and delivered to specific individuals, or families, on an ‘as need basis’. For more information contact Andy Busa

9. Health Days: If you have health care professionals in your congregation offering a health day –perhaps in partnership with a local community centre can be helpful. You can offer health educations seminars as well as written information in several different languages. Can also do blood pressure checks etc. For more info contact Ian Havercroft or Mark Vincent at Lightway Church

10. Providing Rides to Church and other places – Often newcomers do not live within walking distance from the church and do not have their own vehicles. Churches have experimented what different ways of providing transportation including renting a bus for Sundays, buying a large church van, and mobilizing individuals in the church to pick up people in their own vehicles.

11. Praying together: Praying together in small groups, during home visits, etc has proved to be a powerful way of breaking down barriers and building stronger, healthier relationships.

12. Hosting Baby showers and Weddings, Baby Dedications, Funerals and Baptisms: Churches have found that holding these kind of events helps strengthen community and create meaningful shared memories. Newcomers appreciate the emotional and practical support of a church community during these significant life events.

13. Providing Help for Crisis Situations in Home Countries: There have been a number of occasions where churches have been able to help with specific crises in the home countries of the newcomers in their church. For example, one family had a sudden death of a parent back in Haiti. They could not afford the funeral and burial expenses and were looking to their family member in Canada to help. The church was able to make a significant financial contribution that was wired through a reliable money transfer agency (such as Western Union) directly to the family in Haiti.

Other churches have travelled to visit refugee camps where new members of their congregation used to live. They were able to take some supplies and clothing to give to people still living in the camp.

14. Picnics: Church picnics are a great way for people to have fun together and get to know one another in an informal setting. Playing silly games, being outdoors, adults and children playing together are all excellent ways to establish meaningful relationships and create shared memories.