Refugees & Stock the Shelves Program

stock the shelves

Stock the Shelves Mobile Truck   (to print a NEW brochure: Stock the Shelves Brochure )
Is a partnership between fpcw, Sukkat Shalom, Congregation Hakafa and First Congregational Church Wilmette who, as people of faith, are responding with God’s love and welcome as refugee families make new lives in the Chicagoland area.

The mobile truck is the missing link that unites an abundance of Northshore resources with under resourced refugee families, as they continue to build sustainable and thriving lives. Food stamps don’t buy necessary, everyday items such as soap and laundry detergent. On the fourth Wednesday of each month the truck will deliver these helpful items to Warren Park where families can select needed items.

Please donate: Diapers, toothpaste, toothbrush, body lotion, shampoo, hand and body soap, feminine hygiene pads, dish soap, laundry soap, and all-purpose cleaner.
In addition to donations, we need volunteers to help sort the donations and help load the truck one day per month, and be a host on distribution day  from 8:30 – 12 at Warren Park. Please consider helping with the important mission. The SignUpGenius link will help you pick a time to volunteer. Thank you in advance for your help.

In addition, if you would like to make an easy online donation go to the MyRegistry link.

An Update on the Beshara and Habib Refugee Families:
Fall is a busy season for everyone, and we on the Welcoming International Neighbors (WIN) Team want to share all that is going on with our two refugee families…the Besharas from the Sudan and the Habibs from Afghanistan.  Both families were able to join us for fpcw’s First Festival celebration on Sunday, September 10, and we were happy to have them with us. It is hard to believe that the anniversary of their arrival date in the US will be coming up next month. We look forward to celebrating with them and with all who have played such an important role in their resettlement over the past year. Please stay tuned to learn about our plans for observing this important occassion.

IMG_9948 (1)V2First, news from the Besharas…
Bukari continues to work at Brent Anthony Foods, a commercial kitchen in Elk Grove Village where some of the biggest challenges he faces are the long commuting time and expense.  He is also taking Level 5 English classes at Truman college twice a week.  His wife Mohasin is also studying English at Truman College where she is enrolled in Level 6 classes.  Additionally, she is working from home for a company called Bows Arts, making hair accessories.  Their three oldest children (Adam, age 10; Mohaned, age 8; and Lulu, age 5) all started school on September 05 at Clinton which is the CPS school in their neighborhood. Their younger daughter Tumbululu (who is 3) is now attending a Headstart program.

Refugee Family 1

And now an update on the Habibs…who are also doing well.
A few weeks ago, Irfan started a new job as a cook at an Indian restaurant that is a five-minute walk from his home.  Previously, he had been working at O’Hare, cleaning airplanes, so this is a welcome change in terms of commuting time and convenience.  All three of the Habib children started classes at Clinton School two weeks ago, with the twins (Marjan and Muzgan) in kindergarten and Mobine in third grade.  Marjan, who has a number of physical challenges associated with her cerebral palsy, has made great advances through her therapy sessions (both physical and speech) at the Shirley Ryan Abilitilab (previously known as RIC).   Now that the children are in school full-time, their mom Fatima has enrolled in English classes at Asian Human Services near their home.  She is excited about studying English as her native language is Dari, and she currently has only limited proficiency in English.  Like Mohasin, Fatima has also been doing some work for Bows Arts.

Relationships between members of our congregation and these two families have deepened and grown over the past few months through afternoons spent on Lake Michigan beaches, trips to the Lincoln Park Zoo, evenings at Wilmette’s Centennial pool, adventures in Chicago’s Botanic Garden, weekly deliveries of groceries from the Wilmette Food Pantry (at Trinity Methodist Church), countless rides to dental, medical and therapy appointments and even a shared viewing of the solar eclipse on August 21!  We feel very blessed to have had the opportunity over this past year to “welcome the stranger” among us and now be able to call them our friends.

How can you offer support?

  • Pray:  Pray that the Habib and Beshara families, and all refugees, will continue to
    encounter God’s love and grace as they build healthy, sustainable and joy-filled lives in the US.

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