Last summer, when members from the Pleasant Street church learned that Afghan evacuees would be arriving in Worcester, Massachusetts, they committed to do their part to help these individuals and families in tangible ways. Winters in New England can be frigid and even deadly, especially if you are not appropriately dressed. Health Ministries leader Rodlyn Moore recognized that many who left Afghanistan during the crisis could not plan for the possibility of facing cold weather in their new host country. She saw that providing warm clothing was a preventative measure of maintaining their physical, emotional, and mental health.
Pleasant Street church members donated new- and gently-used clothing and winter essentials in a joint initiative between Health Ministries and Women’s Ministries. On November 27 and December 4, volunteers rolled out racks after church services and set up tables filled with sweaters, coats, long-sleeved shirts, and pants for the Afghan men, women, and children now living in Worcester. The Worcester-based Refugee and Immigrant Assistance Center (RIAC) brought representatives of nine families to the church to “shop” for the free items to get them through this winter.
“To God be the glory for opening up this avenue,” said Moore. “He said, ‘Other sheep I have which are not of this fold,’ so we are helping them.”
Also, on December 4, Chauncey Moore-James, Pleasant Street church’s assistant Sabbath School superintendent, presented another round of baskets filled with toiletries to RIAC for the Afghan refugees. A few months prior, the Sabbath School department had initiated a toiletry drive to fill 30 baskets, and on September 11, they presented RIAC with the first of several baskets. The church met its goal of 30 baskets with this most recent donation.
Some 1,000 Afghan evacuees are expected to resettle in Massachusetts, with Worcester preparing to take in up to 350 people. As things progress, Moore envisions additional opportunities to work with other Adventist churches in the area to help meet the needs of these and other refugees living in Worcester. “God opened the door, and we have to step through by faith,” Moore said.
Pleasant Street church communication department