This holiday season, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service launched our seventh annual Hope for the Holidays™. Each year, we work to bring hope to children and families in foster care and detention to show them that they are not alone. We collect handmade cards and monetary donations for gifts so that each child and family receive something this holiday season and can feel supported by Americans through their words and gifts of love.
During the last year, the world has watched as the United States government withdrew from Afghanistan and felt the pain of our Afghan neighbors as fear crept in and dreams were put on hold. We raised our voices together to advocate for those who helped us and for those whose lives were at risk with the Taliban taking control of the government and creating a new regime.
It is more important than ever that we support newcomers to the United States and ensure that anyone who comes to the United States, whether by air, land, or sea, feels welcomed with open arms and loving hearts.
Here at LIRS, we lean on our community to work together to make a difference in the lives of our immigrant neighbors. One of the ways we have learned to do this is by creating moments of community where we can be together, something so missed during the height of the pandemic. As we join together, we put our gifts to use and work together to welcome the stranger.
This is my first year working with LIRS on Hope for the Holidays. To me, it is such an honor to make an impact on families experiencing detention with a small note of encouragement and love. I have been incredibly inspired by all the ways people give their time, energy, and donations. Whether by sorting incoming cards and mailing them out or hosting friends to celebrate the holiday season and encouraging each other to write notes, people are stepping up for our immigrant neighbors.
Last year, when we were all isolated from each other, we returned to old ways of communicating, including porch conversations and letter writing. We acknowledged the human need to be together and to show each other we care.
That’s what Hope for the Holidays is all about. At a time of isolation and fear, we turn to our immigrant neighbors in love and let them know we see them and are thinking of them. I love that Hope for the Holidays considers those who feel forgotten during a time of overwhelming abundance and reminds them that they matter to people they have never met.
It brings friends together to envision a world in which our communities are widened for all and strangers become neighbors.
Host a Hope for the Holidays Party
Here’s how YOU can widen your community: invite your loved ones to a Hope for the Holidays party!
Before the Party
- On the invite, include a link to the website where the toolkit and webinar can be found.
- Create a fundraiser to support gifts for children, allowing them to receive something special this holiday season.
During the Party
- Get the party started with our Hope for the Holidays playlist!
- Include fun holiday activities and themed food/dress. Make it fun and make it your own!
- Gather card-making supplies and encourage creativity!
- Check out our toolkit for tips on sending a message in Spanish.
After the Party
- Remember to separate the cards from envelopes and fill out the form at LIRS.org/sendHOPE.
- Send cards to your nearest partner hub.
As you join with your family and friends this holiday season, think of opening your heart and widening your community and spread love with LIRS.