A new partnership with The Care and Share Thrift Shoppes in Souderton is helping us provide essential resources for refugees arriving in our area.
Liberty’s Lutheran Children and Family Service gives hundreds of refugees hope for a new life in Pennsylvania each year. As the largest refugee resettlement agency in Pennsylvania, LCFS provides much-needed assistance through our offices in Allentown, Lancaster and Philadelphia. Newcomers receive emergency housing and clothing, health services, assistance with access to community resources, job placement support, assistance enrolling children in school, cultural orientation and much more. Our refugee resettlement services are designed to create a smooth transition to life in the local community and to promote economic self-sufficiency. But we can’t do it alone. We encourage and depend upon local congregations and civic organizations to become involved in welcoming these newcomers to our community.
“We don’t have the capacity to continually collect and house clothing and furniture donations, and often at the moment when they are needed, the donations are difficult to come by,” explains Janet Panning, Program Director, Lutheran Children and Family Service.
The Care and Share Thrift Shoppes in Souderton, Montgomery County is a 31,000 square foot complex, founded through a collaboration of churches, which sells donated items such as clothing, books, furniture, small appliances, artwork, house wares, toys and more. It’s run by a staff of 44 and an army of more than 1200 volunteers! The funds raised through the sale of the donated goods at Care and Share, benefits Mennonite Central Committee (MCC.) MCC supports local and global relief efforts and peacekeeping measures, and provides impoverished families with access to food, water, healthcare and education.
“Refugees will always be with us, until the world is at peace,” says Sarah Bergin, Care and Share’s Executive Director.
Care and Share has indirectly supported LCFS for several years by allowing congregations that co-sponsor our refugee families, to bring the new arrivals to the thrift shoppe for an after-hours shopping trip to stock up on much-needed clothing, household items and furniture. Since 2008, these free shopping trips have donated an estimated $25,000 in goods to refugees in our area.
“Refugees are absolutely thrilled to experience the welcome and generosity of a place like Care and Share,” Panning says.
Now, Care and Share has agreed to give thousands of dollars in vouchers to LCFS for refugee families who have no co-sponsoring congregation.
“I have met refugees that have nothing but the clothes on their back and flip flops,” Bergin says. “Some of these individuals have never experienced winter weather before.”
Care and Share is able to help many people in our community and abroad thanks to the donations of so many re-saleable items from local residents, she adds.
“The community we live in now is so generous. We are blessed by the donations we receive and the connections of churches that make it happen,” says Bergin.
And that spirit of generosity is now touching even more lives through this partnership with LCFS.
“We know Care and Share has dedicated volunteers that help many people through their service and we’re grateful for all they do,” says Panning.