RefugeeOne Update!

What a week!

Eagerly anticipating the arrival of our new family this week, we headed to the recently-secured apartment in Chicago’s Lincoln Square / Albany Park neighborhood on Saturday afternoon to do a “soft” move-in of all of the household items that have been stored at PCWS since early spring.  We had quite the team, as you can see from the photos below, and sweated together as we hauled everything from the street, up 3 flights of stairs into the apartment, then assembled and organized everything. 

The big furniture move took place on Tuesday and thanks to expert planning by Rogers Malone and Bambi Tesmond, all of the donated furniture fit!  Including a couple pieces that had been left behind by the previous tenant.

Now we prepare for our family’s arrival on Thursday.  We’ll greet them at the airport, bring them “home” to their new apartment where the refrigerator will be stocked and a home-cooked meal, courtesy of Cindi Karstens and Amy Malone, will be waiting for them.  Stay tuned for some photos from this next big day!


This year “Welcome Home!” will combine our annual Lenten Challenge and Summer Mission projects into one as we prepare to support a refugee family coming to the Chicago area. 

We will be partnering in this effort with RefugeeOne, the largest resettlement agency in Chicago. As you can see on their website, RefugeeOne walks alongside refugees from the moment they land at the airport – welcoming them to Chicago and providing a furnished apartment, English classes, job search support, mental health care, youth programming, and mentors to help them adjust to life in the U.S. and become independent, self-supporting members of their new community.

We will be walking alongside a refugee family, as well.

In partnership with RefugeeOne, we have committed to supporting an incoming refugee family in three ways:

  • First, by raising enough money to help RefugeeOne secure an apartment and do their work with each family. Based upon RefugeeOne’s estimated expenses for a family of 4 or more, the Mission Committee has set our fundraising goal at $12,000.
  • Second, by securing an apartment’s worth of furniture, soft goods, kitchen supplies, cleaning supplies, small appliances, bathroom supplies, toys, books, games, etc., and THEN, moving it all into the apartment so it’s ready when the family arrives.
  • Third, by serving as mentors and friends to this family for a minimum of 6 months, committing to putting together a team of PCWS volunteers to share a schedule of weekly visits to help the family acclimate to their new city, new neighborhood, and a new way of life.

Within each of these three (3) components, there’s a spot for each of you: 

  • You can contribute money; 
  • You can donate furniture; 
  • You can help organize the move.
  • You can volunteer your time once a month to be a mentor.
  • You can choose one way to help. You can have a hand in all three. The best thing about this project is the opportunity it offers each of us to participate in a way in which we’re all comfortable, OR we can embrace this as an opportunity to stretch & challenge ourselves to try something new.

Contributions to support our financial commitment can be made by check to PCWS, with Refugee Family noted in the memo line. Or on our secure online donation website, and choose the Refugee Sponsorship under the Special Offerings section.

The apartment furnishings & supplies program will be coordinated by our PCWS Deacons, led by Bambi Tesmond, Moderator. We have a very specific list of items to collect – the Deacons will help you select items to donate and keep a running inventory of items received. We hope to store everything at church, so several options will be available for easy drop-off. We intend to have everything collected by Sunday, May 15.

We encourage everyone to volunteer to engage directly with our family and be a member of our team of mentors, who will work together in teams of two or three.  Please reach out to Kathy Wennerstrum to be added to a team.  There will be a training meeting for this group in May and, in the meantime, we will begin preparing a schedule of visits, likely beginning in June, when we anticipate being matched with a family.

The Mission Committee and the Deacons are excited for all of the opportunities this project presents for us to come together and be a much-needed LIGHT in someone’s world. 

If you have any questions, please reach out to Kathy Wennerstrum.