Ways Hamilton Churches are Getting Involved with Refugees: Part 3

15. Sightseeing Trips to Local Tourist Attractions:Many newcomers do not have access to a vehicle and have not had the opportunity to see the more beautiful spots in our area. Trips to places like Niagara Falls are great. Hikes in local conservation areas are also very enjoyable for people eager to get out of the city for a bit.

16. Inviting newcomers to your homes for meals. Eating together is a natural way to build a friendship. The sad reality is that many new immigrants have never been in a Canadian home even after many years in Canada. Take the initiative and invite people to your home for a meal together.

16. Celebrating Holidays together: Since most newcomers do not have extended family in their new country holidays can be lonely times. Inviting newcomer singles, and families to join you for special holidays such as Christmas, Easter, Thanksgiving etc is a very mutually beneficial experience.

17. Visiting homes of newcomers: Most newcomers love to have visitors in their home. Hospitality is much more a norm in many other cultures- and we have much to learn from visiting the homes of newcomers. It is important for developing mutual relationships that we are able to receive hospitality as well as extend it.

18. Camping/Retreats: Planning a camping trip or retreat for newcomers and others in the church provides an extended time for relationship building and a great opportunity to create shared memories together. Be sure to include some newcomers in the planning of this event. Those that have done this have found it a great way to take down barriers, and bond together. Campfires (with singing, dancing, sharing) can be a great place to share in culturally meaningful ways. For more info on this talk to Alicia McTaggart at Philpott Church.

19. Helping Access Health care and Social Services: Sometimes newcomers benefit from having someone help them navigate the complex health care and social service systems in our city. Especially if they are not confident in English it is good to have an English speaking companion to help advocate for them and guide them through the system. Some churches have a parish nurse that helps play this role.

20. Help with Filing Income Tax: Filling out Canadian income tax forms can be an overwhelming task- as anyone who has done this knows. Newcomers are often glad to have the assistance and experience of an established Canadian. For more info on this contact John Jordan from Philpott church 

21.Tutoring and Homework Help: Running an afterschool homework club where students can come and get help with their homework. University and college age students are a great resource for running this kind of program. Also older adults who would enjoy reading with young kids.

22. Welcome baskets (and welcome to the Neighbourhood visits): One church is located geographically close to several large apartment buildings. A large proportion of the tenants in these buildings are new immigrants to Canada. The pastors have made arrangements with the superintendents of those buildings to get a list of all the people who moved into the building each month. Then they visit those people taking with them a welcome basket filled with some useful household items, as well as information about resources in the immediate neighbourhood, including the church. For more info on this talk to Ian Havercroft or Mark Vincent at Lightway Church.

23. Volunteering at Micah House and making relational connections there: Micah House is a home that provides short term housing for refugee claimants arriving in Hamilton. It encourages churches to be involved in the life of the home and depends on volunteers from the Christian community to provide support for the guests who stay there. One key way to participate is by volunteering to cook the evening meal at MH and staying to eat with the guests. Several churches have found that the relationships begun at MH have continued long after they have moved out into the community. For more info on this contact Gillian Mattheson or Scott Jones The office phone at  Micah House is 905 297 4387.