Giving Tuesday Waterloo Region


Mennonite Coalition for Refugee Support - MCRS

In the past year, we’ve hunkered down, tried to shut the world out, and learned phrases like “shelter in place,” but Jesus’ words about welcoming strangers are still true, even if the borders remain closed. 
So, how do we welcome strangers, providing safety, exhibiting warmth, and giving them dignity, even in a pandemic? Are they still here in our communities?

While we continue to do our best to live normal lives in our homes while navigating new rules and protocols to protect ourselves and others, some in our community are further isolated and alone. Refugee claimants are living our COVID experience, in addition to being in a brand new community with no or limited family or community while dealing with grief from fleeing their homes knowing they may never see them again and deep fear that they might be forced to return because their refugee claim was rejected.  
The borders may have closed to refugee claimants in 2020, but our work continues - made harder by COVID protection efforts. There are currently over 1,600 people in our active caseload. For our clients, the wait for resolution and security can be long and scary- and it’s even longer now. While they wait, life has to continue with a challenging job environment, our clients need help accessing food and shelter, government support and even tracking the ever-changing regulations during a pandemic. COVID-19 has further revealed the deep need to help refugees in our community navigate their way forward in a complex, difficult and slow process.
This context makes it clear, being an actively welcoming community still matters - even when the borders are closed. We are still here. Refugees still matter, and welcoming communities are critical. We can’t forget that #WelcomingCommunitiesStillMatter.

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