Welcoming refugees to our cities

After my second trip with Food for the Hungry (FH) to Uganda in 2007, I came home with a distinct feeling that I was suppose to work with the refugee population in Phoenix. I felt compelled to do something to help vulnerable people here when I wasn’t traveling to foreign countries for work.

To quote Matthew 25, Jesus said, “I was a stranger and you invited me in.”

The first family I helped to sponsor was from Iraq, and I learned so much about what the family had gone through as they fled their home country– it broke my heart. As I’ve continued to help refugees, other people have joined me to help welcome these displaced people to our country.

FH staff sponsors a refugee family

World Refugee Day is on June 20 – to bring honor and awareness to the millions of people who have fled their homes from fear of death and persecution.

FH Staff and spouses gather for a photo following the furnishing of the apartment.

A  team of Food for the Hungry staff have partnered with Refugee Focus to sponsor a family from Myanmar, a country formerly known as Burma. Last weekend, we set up the apartment in preparation for their arrival from Malaysia. The family has been recovering in temporary housing in Malaysia from issues of ethnic cleansing and genocidal action from within their home country.

The Syrian conflict

Refugees around the world are marginalized, being forced to leave the safety of their home to flee to the unknown.  Some of the most marginalized people are women and children.

Children have been separated from families, which puts them at risk. Women are finding themselves having to sell their bodies to survive.

Food for the Hungry seeks to work with refugees in relief settings, inspiring hope and bringing life-saving supplies. Working through partner organizations with boots on the ground and churches, FH is offering assistance to Syrian refugees by bringing food aid, hygiene kits, blankets and other household items, and medical assistance.

Women and children make up 80 percent of the refugee population.

What you can do…

Read: Many of  FH’s staff have been affected by the plight of the refugee. Check out FH staff Beth Allen’s recent blog.

Hear directly from FH relief staff such as Director of Relief Response Peter Howard as he shares his inside perspective.

Pray: There is a prayer team within the borders of Jordan who pray every Wednesday morning. Join them in prayer to end the conflict in Syria and to provide comfort for those most affected such as the women and children.

Give: The International Rescue Committee said that the Syrian conflict is “the greatest crisis since the end of the Cold War” from a humanitarian perspective. It was also said that help is in short supply. Please consider a gift to bring relief to the hurting refugee population surrounding Syria.

About Heidi Heinrich

Heidi Heinrich, church relationship manager for Food for the Hungry's community-to-community (C2C) program, got her start with Food for the Hungry as a volunteer. She began promoting child sponsorship after being incredibly moved to "just do something" about the poverty she had seen while serving internationally on a team. A mother of two adult children who are pursuing their life's work in serving the poor, Heidi attributes their passion to the impression made through child sponsorship. "It has been a journey." she says, "It all began by sponsoring a child in Bangladesh that led to serving on a team. I am very grateful for the experiences God has given me through sponsorship." She also enjoys art and music, and she is finishing her degree in Human Development through Hope International University.

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