It’s a cold, raining day. The sky has been gray all day, the rain falls constantly – alternating between a drizzle and downpour. While Athens doesn’t get nearly as cold as more northerly place, the fall is wet and cool – a miserable mix for anyone without a home. Unfortunately, many of our refugee friends find themselves homeless (“sleeping rough” in parks, under bridges, or in construction sites). While some refugees find apartments to rent (20, even 30, people crammed into a small [2-3 room] apartment in one of Athens’ “immigrant ghetto” neighborhoods) and many squat in the abandoned buildings scattered throughout the historic city center, still dozens (hundreds?) of refugees sleep outside in the cold Autumn rains, covering themselves with anything (newspapers, cardboard, etc.) that can provide some temporary relief from the relentless rain.
I’m thankful that our ministry seeks to address this serious need. Each winter (around Christmas) we give sleeping bags to homeless refugees. We have a small housing fund that we use to help some refugees (especially families) with a month’s rent. Although it is never enough, I am thankful that we’re able to help in a practical way.
Although we’re planning on giving out over 100 sleeping bags around Christmas, I know that RIGHT NOW at least 50 refugees (mostly Afghan and Iranian men) are currently sleeping in one particular park with no sleeping bags, no sheets, no protection from the cold and wind and rain. I would really love to raise 500 Euros ($675) to provide sleeping bags to this group of guys immediately.
[To clarify, we usually raise the money for sleeping bags in December through our Christmas fundraising appeal. This is why we don’t have the money now. I would love to be able to give these 50 sleeping bags now, in addition to the 100+ bags that we’ll give around Christmas.]
I am praying that God would raise up a few generous givers from among those who read our blog – generous givers who can give this week! $50? $100? 250? As an individual or family? As a small group or Sunday school class?
Will you join us in making the difference in the life of a refugee this week? Will you give so that refugees in Athens can see a tangible expression of God’s love and care? If so, give online now via International Teams HERE. When asked designation/project (“step 2” online) simply write: “Helping Hands: Athens, Greece – Sleeping Bags.”
Thanks for being a part of sharing God’s love among refugees here in Athens. If you give, can you let me know the amount by emailing me – firstname.lastname@example.org – so that we can begin ordering the sleeping bags as soon as possible (even if the money hasn’t registered into our account just yet – which can sometimes take a couple of days).