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The Afghan Project

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Ahavat haGer (Love of the Stranger) in Action

Did you know that CBE members have resettled an Afghan family in Marlborough and is now sponsoring a second Afghan family? 

This vital effort is an outcome of interfaith meetings between Na’aseh members and congregants from the UCC Church in Boxborough (UCCB) starting in late September. By November 3, an Afghan family of six, referred by HIAS and supported by Jewish Family Services of MetroWest (JFSMW), arrived at Logan and was transported to an apartment in Marlborough which was located, rented, and fully furnished by an industrious CBE/UCCB committee headed by Linda and Denis Friedman.

The first family has four children, ages 6 to 16, two boys and two girls. The father was a pilot and trainer in the Afghan army, working closely with US forces. The family is warm, generous, and extremely grateful for all our support.  The father and older son speak excellent English. In order to protect the confidentiality and security of the family, we cannot share photos or more specific information.

Jewish Family Services of MetroWest (JFSMW) continues to supply case management and essential guidance.

CBE Will Financially Support a Second Afghan Family
With the help of generous donors and dedicated volunteers, our support of the first Afghan family is going incredibly well. Together, CBE and UCCB (United Church of Christ, Boxborough) have raised over $60,000. The response at both CBE and at our UCCB partner went well beyond initial expectations. We are deeply grateful for our community's outpouring of support! The family is extremely grateful too! 

We have decided to direct $26,000 of the total funds raised to support a second Afghan family. This would be a donation handled through Jewish Family Services of MetroWest, not a volunteer commitment. The second family has relatives in our area so does not need as much volunteer support as the first family needs. Rest assured that CBE and UCCB have reserved a generous amount of funds to support the first family through this year and a bit beyond, given the medical issues the family faces. If you have questions or concerns or would like to help, please contact Ann Budner at arbudner@gmail.com. 

We have made amazing progress so far assisting the first family!

  • The family is living in an apartment in Marlborough, fully furnished and stocked by a big CBE/UCCB team led by Linda and Denis Friedman
  • Upon arrival, the family enjoyed a welcome meal of Afghan chicken and rice, cooked by our own Barbara Frank and volunteers from UCCB
  • The family has had their initial health assessment at the Edward M. Kennedy Community Health Center in Worcester, a prerequisite to school enrollment
  • Susan Abrams has enrolled the children in school. They will start in January.
  • The family has applied for and received SNAP (Food Stamps) and cash benefits available to humanitarian parolees
  • The volunteer team is helping with the wide array of needs the family has, including grocery and clothes shopping, transportation, navigating bureaucracy (health care, employment etc.), English tutoring, and more
  • The CBE Stitchers have knitted beautiful handmade items for the family, and continue to do so
  • A former CBE member, Diane Krasnick, donated a backpack for each child and a big box of school supplies
  • Congregants from CBE and UCCB have raised more than $60,000 to support the family and, now, to support a second family! Funds help pay for rent, utilities, groceries, and clothing. We are grateful for the generous support of the Cahn Fund for Social Change.

All of this has happened over just a few months…an amazing accomplishment and a testament to the commitment of both faith communities. But this is an ongoing project so more help is definitely needed!

How to Help:

  • Volunteer.  We especially need extra drivers, ESL and general academic tutors, and communication help.  We also need support with health care navigation; for example, we need a pediatric and adult dentist who take Mass Health. If you would like to volunteer, see our Sign-Up Genius HERE or contact our volunteer coordinator Barbara Frank Michaelsen, at  afghanproject@bethelohim.org. For positions in which you will be interacting directly with the family, you will need to fill out JFSMW volunteer forms.  Barbara can walk you through that process.
  • Donate funds. Consider donating a Target, Wal-Mart or Market Basket gift card so the family can pick what they’d like. You may also make a donation on the CBE Donate portal HERE. Under type, select "Na'aseh Social Justice Fund," and indicate in the comment box that it is “For the CBE/UCCB Afghan Support Team.” You can also drop off a check in the synagogue office, but please write the same note on your check. Your donation is entirely tax deductible.
  • Donate items. The family is in good shape right now, but we expect we’ll need more warm clothing as winter progresses and then spring/summer clothing. Contact Barbara at afghanproject@bethelohim.org if you have items to donate.

Thank you!

Thanks to our fabulous volunteers from CBE and UCCB including but not limited to: Sue Abrams, John Barrett, Elizabeth Beal, Gary Budiansky, Ann Budner, Marjie Cahn, Sarah Coletti, Eric DiPaolo, Deena and Bob Ferrara, Linda and Denis Friedman, Paula Grieco, Sari and David Kelly, Laura Kelmar, Karen Kirsten, Diane Krasnick, Sarah Maker, Ellen Maiman, Ann and Guy Marchmont, Anne McNeece, Barbara Frank Michaelsen, Andy Migner, Susan Pinsky, Karl Schlotterbeck, Shelley Sherman, Cindi and Rick Silverman, Lauren Solomon, Leslie Sternberg, and Larry Wellington.

In the press

Read our first write-up in the press! The Beacon, December 13, .

Read this write-up published in the National UCC website: "Saying ‘we will act,’ Jewish and UCC partners jointly welcome Afghan family"
United Church of Christ Website, February 18, 202
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Please contact Ann Budner or Marjie Cahn at afghanproject@bethelohim.org 

Wed, November 30 2022 6 Kislev 5783