As we journey through Lent, we invite you to join us in accompanying refugees. Today we hear from a JRS volunteer. Where do you feel called to renew your spirit?
After leaving his job of 20 years, Mike was looking for something to fulfill his long-standing interest in volunteering. He has since been helping at the weekly JRS UK Day Centre, where he accompanies the destitute refugees we serve.
Every Thursday, Mike can be found greeting our refugee friends as they arrive for the Day Centre, offering a warm welcome to everyone who comes through the door. Mike feels honoured to have been given the opportunity to encounter each of our refugee friends and to hear their stories.
“The time I have so far spent at JRS has been unremittingly rewarding and has offered me a privileged opportunity to meet with, work alongside and support the refugees, many of whom offer their greetings and friendship.”
Mike’s faith has always played a part in how he approached his work and it continues to inspire him as he volunteers with JRS UK. It has always been important to him that each individual he meets is approached and respected with the innate human dignity that we all expect to receive. This dignity which is captured in Matthew 25: “If you welcome the stranger, you welcome me.”
Some of our refugee friends are given support from other organisations and occasionally from local authorities via supermarket vouchers. Being given supermarket vouchers rather than cash makes it difficult to make the money stretch as far as possible and also removes choice.
At JRS, we exchange these vouchers for cash at face value – enabling refugees we serve to purchase the items they need from wherever they choose to buy them, and to meet the need that is their priority at that time.
How you can help…
Do you shop at Tesco? If so, you can help JRS to exchange these vouchers – it costs you nothing but the postage for us to send you the Tesco vouchers in exchange for a donation of the same value. We can send vouchers in denominations of £15.
We know the difference having cash available to our refugee friends makes and how they are able to make the money travel further. We can only continue this voucher exchange with help from our dedicated supporters.
Prayer for the Day
You can catch JRS UK’s Director, Sarah Teather, on BBC Radio 4 each morning over the next week as she presents Prayer for the Day.
In today’s reflection, Sarah draws on Isaiah’s suffering servant as she looks ahead to the themes of Palm Sunday and Holy Week.