Image credit: St. Mark's, Asheville
What does a fresh change of clothes do for you? It probably makes you feel capable of meeting whatever the day will bring. Not everyone is able to start the day or even their new life with a fresh change of clothes. This is particularly true of immigrants being released from government custody. Through the Fresh Change program sponsored by Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS), we can make a small change in immigrants’ lives and let them know we care. St. Mark’s Lutheran Church in Asheville decided to join other churches across the country in making Fresh Change backpacks.
We had set a goal of providing 50 backpacks to the program. On Sunday, April 16, we came together to make our goal. Prior to that day, we put out a request for items we would need to make the backpacks: new sweatpants, new sweatshirts, new underwear, and black backpacks. Through congregational purchases, monetary donations, and Thrivent Action Grants, we were able to have all the items we needed to make all 50 backpacks!
Our Fresh Change event was multi-generational beginning with snacks, a presentation about the importance of caring for immigrants, as well as a video presentation of the work that AMMPARO does. St. Mark’s has recently joined other congregations to become a Welcoming Congregation. A parishioner commented, “I didn’t know AMMPARO helped immigrants not only in America but in their own country.” After all that learning, it was time for the fun! As we lined up behind tables, we discovered we were able to assemble 50 backpacks in 10 minutes! Many hands made easy work! One participant urged, “Make sure we have the bags right for them.”
The Fresh Change project was a simple, fun, and educational activity for our congregation. Your congregation can make more bags than 50—or fewer—it’s up to you! It is a simple and fun way to become involved in the Bishop’s Challenge. Won’t you join us?