First Christian is responding to the need of those seeking asylum in our region. Between last Wednesday and Sunday, we were called upon to received seven families on an emergency basis when Casa Alitas was short on rooms. We thank those who offered their time and presence to make meals, give rides to the airport, find clothes, and be a welcoming presence.
Leaders from the church board, ministry planning team, elders, and deacons met on Tuesday to develop a more coordinated response. Our response includes:
1. Priorities to whom we will offer hospitality: a) long-term (1 week or more) guests from Casa Alitas; b) guest from Guatemalan consulate; c) pop-up shelter for Casa Alitas one week per month.
Typically, families and individuals stay for one or two nights while their sponsor can purchase tickets for travel. Some families/individuals face barriers to quick travel. These families/individuals sometimes need to stay for a week or more, and Casa Alitas cannot offer this service. Therefore, First Christian will offer space for these individuals as priority. Additionally, the Guatemalan consulate has occasional need for individuals to be temporarily housed. This will be our second priority. Third, we be a pop-up shelter as space allows the second week of each month. Pop-up shelter is what we offered before the pandemic.
2. Reinstating Signup Genius for hospitality volunteers. We will prepare the signup for the second week of each month and reconnect with our former volunteers from the community to invite their participation.
3. Amazon wish list. We will soon share a link for our Amazon wish list. Those able to contribute to items needed can easily use the link to purchase donations.
4. Volunteer Days. Once scheduled, you will be invited to help prepare our space and different items for our guests, such as clean and organize the kitchen, set up the clothing room, organize hygiene items, pack travel bags, prepare activity bags for children, etc.
5. Volunteer from home. Also, we will update on opportunities to help from home, such as donate for families’ travel money (we give each $20) or make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches for the travel bags.