Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Churches in New Mexico donate winter jackets and coats to those in need

ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) – This Christmas Eve, churches of different faiths come together to donate to those in need. This year, coats and other cold-weather paraphernalia will be given to the Afghan refugees who are moving to New Mexico as this is where they will spend their first winter.

Instead of wrapping gifts on Friday, Jennifer Christiansen opens deliveries and donations to those in need. “We learned on Friday that winter hats, coats and gloves were urgently needed,” said Christiansen of Latter-day Saints’ Church of Jesus Christ. “Our members across Albuquerque have responded to a great response.”

The Albuquerque Ward works with Lutheran Family Services. Together they are busy procuring winter supplies for Afghan refugees who are currently settling in New Mexico.

“There are several hundred Afghan refugees who are being relocated to our state,” said Christiansen. “These articles will help keep you warm and welcome you to our great state.”

From coat donations to boxes full of Amazon favorite items, all of the items collected are being distributed to the hundreds of Afghan refugees who are adapting to their new homes across the state. Christiansen says she couldn’t think of any other way to feel the true spirit of Christmas.

“It’s priceless,” said Christiansen. “Christ himself was a refugee, so this is particularly important to us at Christmas time.”

Earlier this week, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken gave an update on refugee resettlement. He praised the work of the volunteers.

“Leaving everything you know, family, community, friends, behind you and coming to a place you’ve probably never been before, taking this trip and then trying to settle down, is literally.” Word in itself is something extraordinary, ”said Blinken. “Showing the humanity, care, and decency that America is at its best is a very, very strong thing, and I know it makes all the difference.”

Church members hope that others will be inspired by this multi-faith effort. As the season progresses, they hope the locals will give something back in the spirit of the holidays.

“I would like to challenge our community to come together and welcome these people who arrive in an unknown country with literally nothing,” said Christiansen. “We love this fellowship we live in and we love the opportunity to work with other faiths as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to benefit others and what a great opportunity this time of year.”

Church members continue to accept donations. To donate online, visit justserve.org or add to your Amazon wish list, visit amazon.com/hz/wishlist/ls/1S3AZ7A43KVV5?ref_=wl_share.

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