A Jefferson City-based nonprofit will host the Welcoming Refugees Town Hall this week in Columbia.
Catholic Charities of Central and Northern Missouri has coordinated the arrival and services for all refugees resettled in the region for more than 45 years through its Refugee Services program.
As the designated local resettlement agency in mid-Missouri, the nonprofit is tasked with resettling up to 300 Afghan evacuees in the next two to four months. Catholic Charities is calling on the community's support for this effort.
The town hall is one of two being held to enlist community support and provide education and information on resettlement in the coming weeks, according to a Catholic Charities news release. Catholic Charities serves 38 counties in Central and Northern Missouri.
Welcoming Refugees Town Hall is 4-6 p.m. Friday at Sacred Heart Parish Activity Building, 105 Waugh St., in Columbia. Parking is available at the lot across the street from the church. There is more street and public parking near the church, the release states.
A Volunteer Open House will occur 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturday at the Catholic Charities Columbia office, 916 Bernadette Drive, in Columbia. Additional parking for this event is available at Our Lady of Lourdes Church.
Additionally, donations of new or very gently used winter coats, hats, scarves and gloves are requested, and will be accepted at these events.
For additional assistance with resettlement efforts, the public is asked to donate by texting "WelcomeMO" to 91999, giving online at cccnmo.diojeffcity.org/give or mailing a check payable to CCCNMO to P.O. Box 104626, Jefferson City, MO, 65110.
Community groups are encouraged to become Community Sponsors - who are bridge-builders and ambassadors for the new arrivals. Sponsors create a sense of community for refugees by being friendly neighbors and becoming part of their social capital in their new homes.
"Your role is not to solve every problem to do for others what they can do for themselves. Your role is to equip, educate and guide - to empower!" a sponsorship training manual states.
Learn more at cccnmo.diojeffcity.org/community-co-sponsorship.