In 2023, a team of fifteen First Parishioners and local residents known as Weston Resettle Together began partnering with the International Institute of New England (IINE) and making preparations to support an immigrant family. Our team has collected furnishings and raised $15,000 so that we can help a newly arrived family set up an apartment when the time comes.
…well, the time has come! We recently got “the call” and our refugee sponsorship team was matched with a Congolese family of six. First Parish had collected enough furniture and household goods to create a friendly and welcoming apartment in Lowell. In early October the family – a couple with four children, ages 9, 7, 5, and almost 2 years old – arrived from Africa and moved into their new home. (No photos or identifying details just yet, for privacy & security!) Prior to their arrival, they lived in a refugee camp on the Ugandan border for many years as a result of the ongoing conflict in that part of the world.
Over the next year, Weston Resettle Together will partner with IINE to help the family adjust to life in the United States. This is no small task! There are teams who will work to connect them with housing, healthcare, employment, ESL (English as a Second Language) programs, school enrollment, legal services, and more.
Beyond this practical assistance, Weston Resettle Together will offer friendship and moral support along the way, helping them to navigate daily life in a new country.
Stay tuned for additional opportunities to participate in this effort, including joining us for special gatherings and outings with our family. In the meantime, we invite you to watch this video to learn more about community sponsorship and IINE’s “Resettle Together” program.
We are grateful for this opportunity to help this family adjust to life in Massachusetts and look forward to sharing the experience with you!
In faithful service,
– the Weston Resettle Together Team
Questions? Want to learn more?
Get in touch with Jean Masland or Camille Schmidek for further information about this important initiative.
Current Projects & Recent Updates
Furniture Donations – COMPLETE
THANK YOU for your generosity! We have paused furniture collection while our family settles in.
If you have furnishings to donate for the refugee resettlement, please send an email to Pam Gossman.
- Subject line: Home Goods Resettlement
- Items you have
- If you need someone to pick it up or if you want to deliver it to the church yourself
- If you would like a tax receipt
Pam will contact you to organize drop-off or pick-up times and review the items you wish to donate.
Fundraising for Initial Resettlement – COMPLETE
(June 2023) In order to welcome a family in September, we need to raise a minimum of $10,000 for their first few months of rent and living expenses. One month into our fundraising efforts (June 2023), many generous First Parish donors have contributed nearly $6,000 towards our $10,000 goal.
To help us ensure our family has a safe place to land when they arrive, you can make a tax-deductible contribution by visiting our fundraising page on IINE’s website.
There are many ways to donate: debit or credit card, check, wire transfer, stock/securities, or donor-advised funds. Our fundraising page includes detailed instructions for each donation method. Any amount will make a big difference, and 100% of funds raised will go directly to supporting our family! We appreciate your help and encourage you to spread the word within your networks.