World Relief has so many exceptional supporters, mostly including local churches in Jacksonville. In particular, Church of the Redeemer stepped up to host a Thanksgiving Harvest Festival for World Relief’s refugees. While World Relief only had to supply four buses of refugees from various communities in the city, Church of the Redeemer provided a free meal, coffee and drinks, activities, an inflated bounce house, and a clothes closet packed to the brim.
Travis Trice, World Relief’s Church Mobilizer, first conducted a briefing for all of the volunteers, almost all members of the church, and Lita Amin, the Orientation Specialist for WRJ, explained cross cultural communication.
Then the buses rolled in carrying hungry and excited refugees and their families. Teams of church volunteers rallied groups of refugee kids to take part in games and face-painting in one room, while the adults were shown the bountiful clothes closet.
There were Burmese, Iraqis, Afghans, Congolese, Sudanese, Eritreans, and more, and they filled the church with their laughter and conversation in various languages. Most of those who attended the festival have only been residing in the US for, at the most, three months. A smaller portion of the guests were old friends and clients current staff members of World Relief.
It was incredible and humbling to volunteer with such a supportive and loving church partner. World Relief couldn’t impact as many lives as it does without partnerships such as this, and they may not fully understand how much of a blessing they are to each refugee. The relationships with fantastic sponsors and partners is one thing I know World Relief Jacksonville is thankful for at all times but even more so during this Thanksgiving.