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Northshore Unitarian Universalist Church
A liberal, welcoming congregation serving the North Shore of Massachusetts since 1966

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Refugee and Immigrant Families

NSUU has provided friendship and support, in collaboration with other local churches, to three local families, since 2017. We connected with a large refugee family from the Congo who spent many years in a refugee camp in Uganda before coming to Gloucester and another family of six who spent 17 years in a refugee camp in Burundi before coming to Peabody. We also have become friends with an immigrant family of six from Ethiopia.

Church members have supported these families by teaching English and tutoring the children after school. At the request of one mom, a church member provided a sewing machine and another member helped her learn to use it. We have contributed clothing, including new boots, coats, and mittens for the children, and gently used coats, boots, and other cold-weather items for the adults.

In addition, NSUU members volunteered in a local homeless shelter tutoring some families, both adults and three children in English. During the school year church members participated in a homework drop-in at the shelter that was well attended by both immigrant and American children. In the summer congregants volunteered to provide an activities program. NSUU continued to support these families until the state closed the shelter.

During the winter holidays prior to COVID, our Religious Explorations youth held an annual church-wide collection to provide toys for the children and gift cards for the adults. For some of these activities, we collaborated with a nearby Active Senior Retirement Community. Our refugee friends have joined us at: our holiday workshops that include craft activities and a potluck luncheon; lunch and an Easter egg hunt with the Easter Bunny; and a drumming afternoon. As we watch all the children play happily together, we recognize how fortunate we are to have these families in our midst and what we can learn from these courageous people.