The United Church of Christ, through its COVID-19 Refugee and Asylum Fund, is helping support local UCC efforts financially, emotionally and with information to sustain immigrants, asylum seekers and refugees through the pandemic. Together, we are assisting churches and community organizations that provide relief with needs caused or worsened by the pandemic.
Two recent grants of $2,500 each were awarded to ministries in Oakland, Calif., and Buffalo, N.Y.:
- Interfaith Movement for Human Integrity, Oakland, Calif.
The Rev. Deborah Lee, Executive Director, said the statewide organization provides emergency resources, emotional support, coaching and referrals for immigrant asylum seekers. In addition to serving new arrivals, they are reaching out “to every family helped in the past five years to check on their well-being and provide emergency resources and emotional support, if needed.”
Lee said the UCC grant will have a multiplier effect. It will enable training for lay leaders in 12 immigrant congregations that serve Spanish and indigenous migrant communities. The training will empower leaders to guide people to available resources: free food, coronavirus testing, information to avoid eviction, and other benefits or relief they are eligible to access.
- Church of the Nativity UCC - Justice for Migrant Families, Buffalo, N.Y.
Church of the Nativity UCC and Justice for Migrant Families ministry in Buffalo, N.Y., are providing support to asylum seekers and asylees recently released from detention centers. The resources being shared include non-cash assistance, bus tickets, home or local housing, and legal support to the program itself.
“Funds from this grant will support 12 people staying in Western New York long-term. It will also provide ongoing emergency support of asylum seekers being released from immigrant detention who still need quarantine spaces, transportation to testing sites, updated health information, and masks in order to take a bus home more safely,” according to the proposal.
UCC Disaster Ministries is committed to walking with people in communities hard-hit by disasters and the COVID-19 pandemic.