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Volunteers and donors alike were asking, “What is Mercy Mall going to do for all of the refugees that are arriving at Ft. Lee and Ft. Pickett?”

The news from Afghanistan was unfolding so quickly. We needed to put our heads together and do what we do best…offer material relief and assistance in crisis situations.

These were the messages we were hearing:

           “All they have are the clothes on their backs”

           “There are thousands of men, women, and children…and babies being born amid the chaos.”

           “My son and his wife are the only ones helping the relief effort at Ft. Pickett; people are dropping off things daily to them and they are distributing the items the best they can.”

           “You may or may not be able to get on base, but try anyway.”

At Mercy Mall, we put aside our opinions, political stances, fears, and perceived obstacles and serve those the Lord places in our path…and this past month it was the Afghan refugees brought here by our military.

Babies needed diapers. Women needed feminine hygiene. Everyone needed underwear and toiletries!! Through our contacts and collaboration efforts, we were able to buy, sort, collect, and deliver thousands of dollars of goods onto both military bases almost immediately with the help of donors, church partners, and Mercy Mall personnel.

Currently organized efforts are underway at both bases. Team Rubicon Disaster Response team, are in position to lead the Afghan resettlement efforts at Ft. Pickett.

What happens next? We have been told that after the refugees have been screened and registered, they will be sent to sanctuary cities across the US, including the Richmond, VA area. Based on our sources, we expect about 10% of these families to settle here. That’s a lot of individuals and families who will need immediate assistance. We are ready and willing to assist in any way possible with this effort!

Final Comments:
God has commanded us to love our neighbors as ourselves. There is deep theological truth that supports and commands us to treat immigrants to our land with respect and dignity no matter how they got here. We rely on the proper authorities of the land to maintain order, peace, and justice. Thank you for entrusting us to care for those seeking asylum in this country!

“The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.”

Leviticus 19:34

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