October 2021 the friends met to listen to Deb and Jim Fine from Fallsington Meeting report on efforts by the Bucks County Interfaith Coalition for Refugee Resettlement(BCICRR) to support at least one and possibly two Afghan families to resettle in Morrisville.
Some of you will know that the BCICRR originated in the leading of a Jewish Quaker woman and practicing Sufi, Norma Kaplis, who six years ago felt called during a meeting for worship to bring people together to resettle Syrian families in Bucks County. Norma's efforts brought together Quakers, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists, and members of several local Christian churches to form the BCICRR. The organization, very ably led by Pat McBee, the retired director of Friends Center in Philadelphia, has seen two Syrian families through the first five years of their lives in the U.S. The families are now on the verge of financial self-sufficiency and will soon become U.S. citizens.
So BCICRR is turning its attention to help with the wave of Afghan refugees entering the U.S. in the wake of the collapse of the U.S. war in Afghanistan.
The Image is of Afghan children play at Joint Base Dix-McGuire-Lakehurst in Pemberton Township, New Jersey.
The video is of Representative Barbara Lee who was the only member of Congress to vote against the 2001 Authorization for the Use of Military Force that launched twenty years of the U.S. "war on terror."
In the past most of the funds needed to resettle our Syrian families were provided by individual contributions. BCICRR is gearing up to seek contributions from individuals again, but also hopes this time around to garner contributions and future pledges from area congregations. We are happy that Bristol Meeting is helping to lead the way with this effort with a contribution of $500 now and a pledge of $1,000 in 2022.
Friends suggested yesterday that Falls Meeting may feel led and able to contribute to BCICRR's efforts.
Monetary contributions are not the only thing needed to welcome Afghans to Bucks County. There will be a need for furniture and household goods and for a small army of volunteers to help with transportation, child care, government applications, schools, and much more. Fortunately, there is already a high level of interest in helping, but more help is sure to be needed.
For now, we just want to make everyone aware of the concern. Input will be welcome at a future meeting for business or by email.
Jim and Deb Fine
P.S.: You can find info on BCICRR on Facebook here.