After traveling thousands of miles by cargo ship, by bus and on foot, the families arrived at the U.S./Mexico Border. They had survived the most dangerous jungle in the world, the Darien Gap in Panama, known as the “Migrants’ Graveyard.” They arrived in the United States shortly before President Trump restricted admission of refugees and others seeking asylum. They arrived safely in Charleston where they received shelter, food and welcoming arms. We breathed a collective sigh of relief.
Sixteen months after their arrival in Charleston, the families face additional struggles.
The Coronavirus has limited or halted their employment entirely. A former nurse was offered a job at a nursing home just days before the Governor’s stay-at-home order. Her husband was ready to take his driver’s license test, the first step toward obtaining a CDL license, when the Department of Motor Vehicles closed. The business that employed the second couple has reduced production, cutting their hours severely.
These two families who were on the road to self-sufficiency need our help more than ever. Will you answer the call?
Following is a letter from the President of our Board of Directors, on behalf of WVIRM, asking that you listen to the cries of those who have had to leave their homes and flee to a foreign country, because their lives and the lives of their families were in danger. Will you listen to their cries? Will you donate now?
Dear Friend of WV Interfaith Refugee Ministry:
As the world deals with this unprecedented pandemic, WVIRM finds itself facing an unprecedented situation. The COVID-19 virus is affecting all of our families, and our way of life.
At WVIRM, we are facing this same difficulty as many other households, businesses and nonprofit organizations. Our current funding will last only about 5 more months. We cannot do it alone without your help to support our two families.
For the past 16 months, we have been supporting two families from the Republic of Congo and Angola, each with small children, who are seeking asylum in the United States. We provide full financial support and cultural orientation while they try to learn how to adjust to life in a new country, earn a living and become self-independent, productive members of our beautiful State.
They were well on their way to self-sufficiency when the COVID-19 epidemic turned everything upside down. We hope they will be able to return to work by the end of the year, but if not, we need to be prepared to help.
We know friends of WVIRM are committed to ensuring that our mission to help support immigrants and refugees continues and that no family goes hungry during these difficult times.
We come to you at this time to appeal to your heart with an urgent request for help. Most of us will be receiving a check from the Stimulus Package our government is implementing. We ask you to consider sharing part or all of that check with our organization.
The donation will be tax-deductible. The CARES Act contains a provision allowing individuals to take a $300 above-the-line deduction for cash contributions to charities, regardless of whether or not the individual itemizes deductions. This is a win-win provision! You help WVIRM help families, and you get an additional tax deduction!
We are a very small nonprofit organization that is run primarily by volunteers with a part-time Executive Director supported by grant-funding. All of your donations will go into an emergency fund supporting the families.
We understand and respect how difficult these times are on us all; how stressful this is for everyone. Please help those who are less fortunate than you and those who are trying to get their life started in this country, as most of us and our ancestors did. Make a financial contribution to WVIRM. Anything is appreciated. No donation is too small.
Donations can be made online at http://www.WVIRM.com or via check to P.O Box 5387, Charleston, WV 25361.
Thank you for caring and for your generosity.
Ibtesam Sue Barazi, Board President, WVIRM