On September 4th, St. Matthews was invited to a meeting at Lutheran Church of the Covenant (LCOC) with Hameed, a LSSNCA representative and 5 eastern PWC ELCA churches – Good Shepherd, LCOC, Epiphany, St. Matthews and River of Grace.

Things are changing rapidly: LCOC agreed to host storage for supplies for the refugees mid-week; Friday they were asked to accept overflow supplies from a Fairfax storage site; and trucks were being unloaded by LCOC volunteers on Saturday. Hameed stated that 40 to 60 families could be arriving the next week and the LSSNCA priorities were for storage space for donations, Welcome Home Gift Boxes, and houses and apartments for the refugees. He also identified that about 80% of the families have at least one person who speaks excellent English.

On September 5th, the second after-church service meeting was held at St. Matthews with about 25 people present. The information from the September 4th meeting was shared.

In addition, details about the LSSNCA Welcome Home Gift Boxes were given to attendees. Rob Mouw stated that it currently seemed that the offer of a member’s basement would not be accepted due to not having its own kitchen. Several people related previous experience with Cambodian and Vietnamese refugees in the 1970s.

Numerous ideas were brought forward, including possibly using the St. Matthew’s Mission Endowment Funds to support this effort. It was decided by consensus that the requested contents of the first 4 of the Welcome Home Gift Boxes be presented through Sign-up Genius, with the Hygiene/Toiletries Box available for individuals to fill and deliver to LCOC or to St. Matthews individually.

Attendees signed up for email information and to volunteer to assist LCOC for loading/unloading of donations. Ideas were
requested from participants for the upcoming congregational meeting decision.

We are in the process of setting up sign-up genius to sign up for the first 4 of the Welcome Home Gift Boxes. If you have assembled a HYGIENE/TOILETRIES box, you can bring it to LCOC for drop off on Wednesday between 11-1 or Saturday from 11-2, or contact Rob Mouw at jararmouw@aol.com or 703-509-2574 for other options.

If you are able to assist in loading and unloading at LCOC, please send an email to Rob Mouw if you have not already done so.

Please plan to attend the Sunday, September 19 congregational meeting after the 10:00 worship service in person or via zoom to vote on St. Matthew’s support to the Afghan Refugees.