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Welcoming our New Neighbors

Faith communities across the Commonwealth are stepping forward to respond to the many families and individuals arriving in Massachusetts. This joint effort is co-sponsored by:

Black Ministerial Alliance of Greater Boston/Ten Point

Boston Faith & Justice Network

Jewish Community Relations Council

Massachusetts Council of Churches

Unite Boston

 

To learn more about the “village effort” to help migrant families, read this recent story from ‘GBH news here.

 

This page will offer updates and resources for local congregations* seeking to welcome thy neighbor.

* at this point we have closed the two drop off locations in Boston for winter goods. Thank you for your help with winter donations.

updated 6/05/24:

What is needed?

1. Prayerful Language and Open Hearts:

The people who are arriving here in Massachusetts are seeking everything that those of us living here also desire- dignity, shelter, safety, meaningful work and support for our families. We invite you to use language that uplifts and does not demean. Speak using “people first” language of those  “people seeking shelter” or “people seeking asylum,” or “new neighbors.” So much of the language that has been used is deeply dehumanizing, and we seek to treat all people with dignity as beloved children of God.

2. Financial Resources: 

There is an opportunity for everyone to give to support these new neighbors, and we invite those from economic means to give out of their abundance. We don’t want to continually be asking the communities that are always tapped to be giving and giving again. As this Boston Globe article shows “Wealthier Mass. Communities avoid brunt of expanding shelter crisis”, many majority white and wealthy communities are not sharing equally in the responsibility to care for these new neighbors, and so we offer this opportunity to step forward.

Cash donations are the most flexible right now, and allow our Haitian American and other colleagues to put those financial resources where they are most needed. While the State Legislature has appropriated some funds for overnight shelters, there are vast unmet needs that a network of Haitian-led nonprofits are filling. We suggest suggest local congregations make financial contributions to Immigrant Family Services Institute. Direct link to donation here.

 

3. Physical Space:

One of our most pressing needs is for daytime shelters. We need YOU to consider if your community can host new neighbors during the day.

There is an opportunity for congregations across Massachusetts or anywhere proximate to an Emergency Shelter. We need space. There are two types of emergency shelters: 24 hour sites and overnight shelters. The overnight shelters require people, often families to leave at 7am and return at 6pm. Therefore, we need congregations or any other space to be available during the day.

Read this story from the Boston Globe on 2/15/24 about why daytime space is so needed:

https://www.bostonglobe.com/2024/02/15/metro/massachusetts-migrant-crisis-cambridge-shelter/

We have created a one page FAQ sheet. We are asking the state agencies and others if there is funding available to offset cleaning and heating costs.

View the One Page Request for Physical Space Here: https://www.masscouncilofchurches.org/wp-content/uploads/2024/02/2024.02.14-Congregations-Space-Request-1-page-flier.pdf

We can share with you the stories of Church of the Holy Spirit in Mattapan, and First Congregational Church in Milton, two congregations that have opened their doors as daytime shelters. This is possible and necessary.  If you’d like to hear from these churches, email: council@masscouncilofchurches.org

4. Volunteers: 

Friends, we invite you to a ministry of accompaniment in volunteering. There are staff in place from the state to assist with filling out forms and accessing services, but what many of our new neighbors need and desire is connection. Come read a book, play a game, just connect. Many of our new neighbors deeply desire to learn English. No experience is necessary, just an open heart and a willingness to try. We invite you to consider if you have some time available to volunteer.

Our trusted colleagues at Immigrant Family Services Institute are coordinating volunteers.

We invite you to register for volunteer opportunities here.