A Birthday Blessing to Welcome New Refugee Families

By Emily Talbott

Rez member Matthew Longhurst has been quietly serving as a hero to newly arriving refugees and immigrants. For his 29th birthday this March, he held his second birthday fundraiser for World Relief. Instead of birthday gifts, Matthew asked friends to donate basic household supplies for refugee families, many who arrive in the U.S. with only a suitcase of belongings. 

Matthew gathered donations for World Relief at his home.

Throughout the week of his birthday, Matthew collected items needed for a new home– pots and pans, dishes, silverware, towels, blankets, pillows, and more. On March 17, his birthday, he dropped them off at the World Relief distribution center in Carol Stream. (See top photo.)

But Matthew is committed to helping refugees throughout the year. During the last two years, he has been volunteering weekly at World Relief’s warehouse. There he creates welcome boxes of donated household supplies for newly arriving families.

I love knowing that we’re helping people who come to DuPage County after experiencing terrible things in their home countries,” he said. “They each arrive with a US visa, and the hope of starting a new life.” 

Resurrection has also partnered with World Relief in welcoming and supporting refugees and immigrants for more than 30 years through our Advent Gift and volunteering for Good Neighbor Teams. 

Our church also contributed to Matthew’s birthday fundraiser with a financial gift for purchasing supplies. He wrote this thank you to our church family: 

 “You did amazingly supporting me. I went to World Relief today and a lot of the stuff is already gone. Rez blessed a lot of refugees, so thanks again.”

-Read more about how Matthew got involved in volunteering at World Relief in this interview.

-Learn more about our church’s involvement with World Relief here.

Emily Talbott is missions manager at Church of the Resurrection. In her free time, she likes to paint, play guitar, and walk in Lincoln Marsh.

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