Thanksgiving 2021 marked the arrival of two new Afghan families to the neighborhood. The first family of five arrived a week before the holiday. The second family of four arrived the following week from Texas. They arrived at O’Hare with three large duffle bags and two young girls. The three-year-old daughter rode on her father’s shoulders as they left the airport. When both families arrived at their new apartment, they were met by welcoming volunteers.
Members of the Park Community Church in Hyde Park, University of Chicago Laboratory High School volunteers, and many members of the community worked tirelessly to find and set up the apartments and prepare for their arrival.
- Speakers of both Farsi and Pashto reached out to become interpreters and welcomed these new families into the community.
- Families are now receiving daily English lessons and visits from mentors to help them become familiar with everything.
- Families will receive food support until they are settled, and a volunteer is working with local employers to find jobs for them.
- A fifth grade class at St Thomas the Apostle put together donations for household goods for the families and made welcome cards that greeted the family in their apartment.
- HPRP reached out over the Good Neighbors and Parent Support Network email lists to find items for the apartments, including a crib at the last minute, when we found out that the second family had a baby.
- Groceries were purchased, furniture moved in, crib assembled, pantry stocked and fridge filled.
- Volunteers have donated their old cell phones so families could have phones.
- Volunteers drove to pick up the second family from O’Hare and, in the half-hour before they arrived, hurriedly read through the manual and figured out how to install the car seat for the baby.
- One of our very first refugee moms brought her daughter to greet the second family who had two lovely young girls, remembering her own experience of arriving in her new home with her own small children five years ago.
For more information about how to get involved, please check the links on this website.