Just When They Were Needed the Most
On Friday, December 29, CFNA received 72 cartons of sleeping bags from the ALPS Brands Company of New Haven, Missouri. Each carton contained two double sleeping bags, each of which can be unzipped into singles, or even blankets. That’s 288 sleeping bags or blankets! It should be noted: these are top-end, high-quality products with a sale price of $180 each on Amazon. They arrived just when they were needed the most.
The last few days of 2017 were very cold, with sub-zero temperatures and winds chills between -20 and -25 degrees. For recently arrived refugees from the tropical regions of Africa and Asia, this weather could only be described as brutal.
CFNA Executive Director, Rev. Stanish Stanley, working with the six CFNA Ethnic Ministry Facilitators, quickly put together a distribution team. In just two days, by the evening of Sunday, December 31, almost all the sleeping bags had been distributed. Recipients were families from nine birth nations, including Nepal (27); Liberia and Sierra Leone (11); Congo, Rwanda, and Sudan (7); Syria (4); Afghanistan (5); and Ethiopia (5). Together, these families consist of more than 300 people. Additionally, some of the sleeping bags were given to St. Trinity Lutheran Church for distribution among needy people in their neighborhood.
The gratitude expressed by the numerous recipients was heartfelt. Speaking for many others, Maureen Mutsigushi, who with her father and three siblings are recent refugee arrivals from Rwanda, said, “Thank you for the big blankets. They help us a lot during this winter weather.” Mr. Khaliqui, who together with his wife and four children are refugees from Afghanistan, put it like this, “The winter is so cold. Your gifts arrived just when we needed them most.”
In addition to ALPS Brands and the approximately 15 volunteers and CFNA Ministry Facilitators who distributed these gifts, we also extend our thanks to Pastor Bill Zastrow of Ebenezer Lutheran Church, who brought this gift to our attention in the first place.
By Rev. Allan Buckman with Rev. Stanish Stanley