We often share the stories of refugee families who we’ve welcomed, but we wanted to take an opportunity to share about a couple of the people who make our work possible—individual donors!
Meet Mindy and Steve. Steve has worked in the financial services industry for 32 years and Mindy works at Lifetime Fitness. They have three young adult children and are longtime members of University Baptist Church in Minneapolis.
Mindy recalls first becoming interested in refugees when her church co-sponsored a Karen refugee family through MCC Refugee Services in 2002. The family they befriended included a single mom and her 6 school age boys. The family arrived in August, and Mindy stepped in to help with a whirlwind of school registrations and orientation. Mindy recalls being awed by how well this family managed, diving right into their new life and she reflected that it gave her a different perspective on the small annoyances in her everyday life. “It definitely makes you realize your own privilege,” she shared as she remembered the contrast between her own robust support systems and those of a refugee family just beginning to find their way in America.
After witnessing resettlement work firsthand, Mindy was one of the early members of the MCC Committee on Refugee Services, a former advisory committee of community supporters. In the course of learning more about the inner workings of Refugee Services’ programming, she realized just how critical fundraising is to our program. Around this time, Mindy and her husband Steve began to be intentional about making financial donations to Refugee Services each year.
She’s sustained her interest and involvement with refugees through co-sponsoring other refugee families, helping with special offerings at her church, and traveling to a refugee camp in Rwanda with a team from American Refugee Committee. During that trip, she was struck by the incredible hopefulness that refugees shared in the face of so many challenges. “In general, refugees are very hopeful people. It’s hard for me to imagine, but I respect it so much,” she said.
I asked Mindy what she might share with others who are considering making a donation to Refugee Services and her response was powerfully simple: If you are a Christian, you know that there is so much in the Bible that speaks about caring for refugees and helping them thrive. It feels like the core of what Christianity is about; it’s central to what Jesus spoke about, and it feels central to participate in supporting refugees.
In the midst of the current national debate about immigration and refugees, Mindy has found that supporting refugees is at the core of her being, so financially supporting Refugee Services is a natural outgrowth of her passion to fight for refugees. The generosity of individual donors enables Refugee Services to weather fluctuations in arrival numbers, pioneer new programs, and provide a wide array of services to refugees in Minnesota.
If you would like to make a financial gift to support Refugee Services, please use this link.
This article was written by Kristin Zoellner, our Communications Specialist.