Hope for the Holidays

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“You, too, must show love to foreigners, for you yourselves were once foreigners in the land of Egypt.”(Deuteronomy 10:19, NLT)

Offer hope this holiday season and join Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) in our commitment to write and distribute holiday cards to 1,700 women and children held in family immigration detention facilities by Christmas of 2014.

What is family immigration detention?

Over the past year, we have witnessed a stark increase in the number of children and families fleeing their home countries in Central America to seek protection in the U.S. In response, the federal government quickly opened two new family detention facilities in Artesia, New Mexico and in Karnes County, Texas. A third facility is currently being constructed in Dilley, Texas and there is discussion around expanding the Berks family detention center, the only one in existence prior to the summer of 2014.

Although a daily reality for many, feelings of isolation and hopelessness are only intensified during the holiday season. While we enjoy abundant feasts and celebration, our incarcerated friends remain separated from the love of their family, the support of their friends, and the comfort of their traditions.

How can I help?

Give the gift of HOPE this holiday season by joining our mission to send a greeting card to every woman and child in family detention centers this December. We ask all congregations and individuals to write encouraging messages of hope on seasonal greeting cards in Spanish to bring light and joy to families in detention.

Host an event

Organize a potluck, Bible study, Sunday School class, or open house and invite your community to bring and write holiday greeting cards. Follow these simple steps for a successful event of hospitality and welcome!

  1. Gather materials Organize a card drive by collecting card donations in advance or encourage people to bring their extra, unused holiday cards when they gather to write messages.
  2. Publicize widely Invite at least 25 people from your congregation to each write one card. Use our flyers to help promote your event. Download the English version here or the Spanish version here.
  3. Logistics Set the time, date, and location for the event. Consider partnering with other organizations and recruiting volunteers to help. Perhaps you could have a speaker, provide food, or show an immigration themed movie. We would suggest The Visitor as s great choice to portray life in an immigrant detention facility.
  4. Write the cards Write a simple greeting in Spanish. If you do not speak Spanish, there are simple greetings listed below. Ask children to draw a picture to brighten the season for a child in a detention facility.
  5. Mail cards by December 9 Place all the cards in a few large manila envelopes addressed to the LIRS office. Detention facility guards open all mail, so please do not send a multitude of individual envelopes. We hope to have each family in detention holding a greeting card by Christmas Day and individual envelopes will slow the process.

 

Deadline to mail the cards: DECEMBER 9, 2014

Send letters to:

Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service
Access to Justice
700 Light Street
Baltimore, MD 21230

Common Holiday Greetings in Spanish

Querido amigo;

Querida amiga;

Dear friend,

Feliz Navidad

Merry Christmas

Feliz Año Nuevo

Prospero Año Nuevo

Happy New Year

Felices Fiestas

Happy holidays

Mis mejores deseos para la Navidad y el Año Nuevo

All my best wishes for Christmas and the New Year

Que tenga una Navidad llena de amor, alegría, y salud

I hope you have a Christmas full of love, happiness, and good health

Durante la Navidad y el Año  Nuevo, mucha alegría y felicidad

Joy and happiness for Christmas and the New Year

La bendición de Dios llevando paz en Navidad y para el Año Nuevo

God’s blessings and peace at Christmas and for the New Year

Deseándole un año lleno de paz, salud, y amor

Wishing you a year filled with peace, health, and love

 

Questions or would like additional support? Email visitation@lirs.org