Refugee Family Ministry
Our former Congolese Refugee Ministry is now officially under the auspices of ReEstablish Richmond:
Our new title is "Refugee Community Engagement Program-Congolese." We continue to maintain our Facebook page “Congolese Refugee Families.” Leslie Saul will continue to be the Congolese Engagement contact at Leslieruthsaul@gmail.com
Monetary donations may be given to ReEstablish Richmond with “Congolese Community” in the memo line. For in kind and gift card donations please contact Leslie Saul or Roland Karnatz at RolandKarnatz@yahoo.com.
Current Ways YOU Can Help:
Our adult refugee community group has been attending English classes at Highland Springs Adult Learning Center 2 days a week during the school year and weekly English instruction on site during the summer. They are advancing in English proficiency more slowly than their children and have requested English 3 days a week this school year. Each semester is $105.00 per person. The weekly classes on site are $50.00 per 2 hour session. 6-8 people attend the weekly and twice weekly classes.
The Congolese adults are willing and planning to pay a portion of their $105.00/ semester. We are requesting donations and sponsorships for English classes. Sponsor one person for $100.00 or donate any amount toward the community classes. For more information please contact Leslie Saul or Roland Karnatz. You may also drop off donations to the Parish Office Monday-Friday from 9-2.
Got Yardwork? Several teen boys are available this fall for jobs doing yard work. Contact Leslieruthsaul@gmail.com to hire them.
We are very excited that Angelica Gehlich began her weekly community group with our Congolese children. Stay tuned to learn more in the coming weeks. Angelica is a former Peace Corps volunteer and a current volunteer with ReEstablish Richmond assigned to our community. She brings experience working with children of diverse needs and backgrounds and is well versed in trauma informed care. Welcome Angelica!
Shop and help refugees all at the same time!
Welcome to Kamili, a partnership developed by Britta Kelley between resilient refugees from war-torn Central Africa and people like you, who are encouraging them to succeed in their new home in Richmond, Virginia. By purchasing these bracelets, you are providing refugees with flexible, dignified jobs crafting handmade jewelry. Wear them as a reminder of our collective power, strength, and unity.
Donate something from our wish list on Amazon.
Transitions are especially challenging when everything is new from doorknobs to hot showers, microwaves, refrigerators, thermostats, bank cards, and different soaps for washing clothes, hands, hair, dishes, and floors!
Currently St Thomas' is collaborating with community partners to support the Congolese Refugee Community. Our neighbor and food pantry partner St Paul's Catholic Church provides ongoing financial and material support, especially focusing on the needs of a family including 6 children and their single mother. All Saints Catholic School theology classes made cards and collected money for gift cards for the families and provided free passes for their annual carnival for the refugee children living in the neighborhood. We have begun working with ReEstablish Richmond, ReEstablishrichmond.org, a non profit organization helping refugees establish roots, build community, and become self sufficient. They provide volunteer training for their mentors who work closely with St Thomas' volunteers in the Congolese community. Volunteers provide transportation to medical and social service appointments, accompany refugees on trips to the market for groceries, the bank, DMV, school meetings, ESL classes, and community events. St Thomas' provides a weekly ESL class on-site at an apartment complex where many Congolese refugee families live. We also provide tutoring volunteers, sewing instructors, driving coaches, connect teens with yard jobs, and collect needed material donations of books, toys, diapers, clothing, shoes, laptops, household goods, and personal hygiene items.
New volunteers are very welcome. Please contact Leslie at Leslieruthsaul@gmail.com for more details!