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Welcoming the Stranger in Our Midst – Supporting Newly Arriving Immigrants from Ecuador: Your Help is Needed 

By December 14, 2023No Comments

For the last six weeks, Deacon Rena Turnham and Deacon Rex McKee have been offering support to three immigrant families from Ecuador. St. John’s Justice and Service Committee has offered some financial support in this effort. The families are grateful and need our ongoing support. 

As you may be aware, the Twin Cities have seen a sharp increase in immigrants from Central and South America. Unfortunately, many of these immigrants do not qualify for services. This includes services from the Minnesota Council of Churches. Immigrants with the same legal status do not necessarily receive the same services, if any, due to their country of origin. This puts undue hardship on people from certain countries, and in this case, Ecuador. These immigrants are escaping corruption, violence, and persecution, and they need our help. 

These families have permission to be in the United States while they seek asylum here. Because they do not qualify for services, there is a huge financial gap for these families while they get settled, seek asylum, get work permits, find employment, and then hopefully, eventually qualify for support services. While we have been working with these families on settling them in Minneapolis and bringing them to Casa Maria for community and to get food and other items, their gap needs remain great. At the current time we are seeking the following (this list will be updated as needed, as families are in various stages of their resettlement and their needs are evolving): 

Furniture* 

  • URGENT NEED: One small scale neutral colored love seat in good condition 
  • Clean area rugs in good condition: one large for living room and one small/medium for kitchen 
  • One small coffee table in good condition 
  • One small end table in good condition 

*Large items will need to go directly to families. Please email Deacon Rena Turnham at: rena@stjohns-mpls.org about arranging details for collecting these items. Please do not drop off items at the church. Items not on this list will not be accepted. 

Volunteers 

URGENT NEED: Volunteers are needed to shuttle families to medical appointments, food shelves, grocery stores, pharmacies, free and reduced-priced clothing closets, and for local outings in the community. Spanish speakers are especially needed. Volunteers are also needed to make phone calls on behalf of the family. Please contact Deacon Rex McKee if you can help, at: rex.mckee@gmail.com. 

Monetary Donations and Gift Cards** 

  • URGENT NEED: Monetary donations for rental assistance, utility assistance, bus passes, etc. 
  • Aldi Gift Cards for food and household items that families fill in around what they receive at food shelves. 

**Please mail Aldi gift cards to the church office or drop them in the collection plate on Sunday. Monetary donations can be accepted online here. Checks may be mailed or dropped off at the church office or placed in the collection plate on Sunday. Please make your check out to St. John’s and put ‘Refugee Support’ in the memo line. Thank you!