♦ By Kim Kellogg

(April 30, 2019)

Good news has emerged for Piedmont Church’s Refugee Task Force (RTF) over the past two weeks.

There continue to be refugee families arriving in the Bay Area who will need our help resettling in America, despite the new reality that the number of newcomers being allowed entry has been significantly reduced for 2019. We may have a family we can assist as early as this fall.

Over the past few months, RTF members have explored opportunities to serve many pockets of society that could benefit from our helping hand. As we narrowed our decision process, our commitment to the refugee community emerged as the top priority, since we have the knowledge and experience needed from the three families we have helped to date.

Through weeks of research, we learned that two Bay Area organizations continue to bring in refugees for settlement, primarily from Afghanistan: The Jewish Family & Community Services East Bay and the International Rescue Committee. In mid-May we will be hosting meetings with these groups to understand how they work and how our church and its RTF members can collaborate on resettling newly arrived immigrants.

While we valued our strong and productive relationship with Catholic Charities of Alameda in the first years of our RTF program, we recently learned that after 50 years of refugee resettlement work, their operation would be closed at the end of April and their staff relocated, due to the decreased numbers of refugees and the expense of rent in Oakland.

In light of this, we have found these two other organizations, whose refugee resettlement efforts continue and who have many families in the pipeline to come to California.

Look for our upcoming announcement about meetings at the church with the Jewish Welfare Federation of Lafayette and the International Rescue Committee and plan to join us.