Eloy Detention Center Christmas Card Project

REPORT: CHRISTMAS CARDS FOR ASYLUM SEEKERS SUCCESS

Dear 2020 Asylum Seekers Christmas Card Project Participants,

Selena Seesecker and Karen Kohl

Thank you so much for your contribution to the Christmas Card Project for Asylum Seekers at the Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona!  Our personal Arizona based “card gatherer,” Karen Kohl, who has been deeply involved with asylum seekers for several years wants us to know that the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project – based in Tucson) annually seeks to distribute a hope-filled  handwritten Christmas card to each of 5000 detainees at the Eloy Center.

Thanks to a number of Disciples youth groups and congregants Karen and her friend, Selena Seesecker, was able to collect almost 900 cards for detained asylum seekers. Each of your cards included handwritten cheerful, caring and hopeful messages (written in the detainees’ native language) which we feel sure will lift the spirits of these asylum seeking detainees as they await their court dates which determine their fate.

In case you didn’t know, the asylum seeking process is one which is totally legal, however, at this time it is sadly backed up and families must often wait for many months to learn whether they will be released into the care of family already living in the USA or be deported back to the countries from which they once fled, fearing the loss of their life and limb.

We hope that there will be fewer asylum seeker being detained next year, but whatever the numbers of detainees, we expect to run this project again next year. So…we invite you and your friends to save the fronts of this year’s Christmas cards so that we can send them out to asylum seeking detainees in the same manner again next year.

If you have any questions about this project or the work of volunteers such as Karen Kohl and other volunteers involved with the Florence Project please contact me at kepperly@dhm.disciples.org.

Yours In Restless Peace,

Rev. Kate Epperly
Minister of Justice and Advocacy for Families and Children,
DHM Ministries Across Generations Team

 

Looking for an easy, yet very meaningful hands-on mission project for your children, youth or family to do during this pandemic time of all-too-much time at home or in “virtual reality”?

This project is simple but very meaningful because it will provide some 5000 asylum seekers (many of whom are children) in detainment at Eloy Detention Center in Eloy, Arizona with the only Christmas present they are going to receive.
This project is undertaken in partnership with the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project which provides free legal and social services for adults and children in immigration.  FIRRP hopes that every detainee will receive a greeting! They successfully achieved their goal last year. We are blessed to be able to help them make their goal this year!

This project is the direct application of the maxim “it’s the thought that counts” because in addition to a holiday greeting and lots of cheerful images you are asked to include the message (in Spanish):” Do not be discouraged. You are not forgotten or “No se desanime. No esta olvidado.!”  Before you begin, please note, that the flat, unsealed cards and envelopes must be sent to the person collecting the cards for us before the middle of November: Karen Kohl, 2130 Leisure World, Mesa, AZ 85206.

How To Get Started:

  1. First, decide whether you want to recycle your old Christmas cards or make your own simple cards from scratch. If you are recycling, please carefully cut off the front of old Christmas or seasonal greeting cards and decorate the back side of them with your comforting seasonal message or doodles (Note: no stickers or embellishments of any kind are allowed)
  2. If you want to make your own cards, please make copies of the simple Christmas tree designs offered at right and decorate them colorfully with crayons or markers (again, no stickers, sparkles or any embellishments allowed!). If you make your own cards using our models, please note that the design basically creates two cards to a 8 ½ by 11 page (when folded over) Again, the uplifting seasonal message plus a message of compassion and care is what is really important.  (See examples below, written in both English and Spanish)
  3. Then, purchase plain white envelopes which will fit your cards (you may need to trim down large recycled cards to fit standard envelopes.)
  4. Feel free to decorate the envelope itself or its edges with joyful images or doodles BUT BE SURE THAT YOU LEAVE THE TOP THIRD (or at least one inch) OF THE ENVELOPE BLANK so that members of the Florence Immigrant and Refugee Rights Project (https://firrp.org/) can write in the name and alien registration number of each person prior to distribution. NO STAMPS are allowed and the envelopes must remained OPEN.
  5. Last but not least, you are invited to make some sort of fun insert such as a picture your child has colored with a first name and age on it;  a photograph of a (unnamed) group of people smiling and waving to say “you are not forgotten,”photos of some pretty flowers, animals or a  beautiful landscape.