GMercyU Partners with Catholic Social Services for Afghan Refugee Donations

December 2, 2021
GMercyU Partners with Catholic Social Services for Afghan Refugee Donations

Lauren Yancer '21
Marketing Major

Gwynedd Mercy University and Catholic Social Services (CSS) worked together to complete a donation drive for the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program. The program is designed to assist Afghan evacuees with services prior to and upon their arrival. CSS is providing support for basic needs, housing, employment, and health care. Evacuees are becoming acclimated to their new environment through cultural orientation and the language services provided to them. 

The idea of a donation drive originated with Karalyn Derstein from Gwynedd Mercy Academy High School. Her idea was to connect the various Sisters of Mercy institutions within Archdiocese of Philadelphia to assist the Afghan refugees with settling in the area. The participating institutions named the effort the “Mercy Refugee Collaboration.” GMercyU’s Campus Ministry organized the donation drive during Work for Justice Week. 

Many of the Afghan refugees arrived in the United States with nothing. They were piled onto crowded military planes and are now living on military bases. Upon arrival, the refugees are unsure of where they will find the resources to live and are struggling with the culture and language of the country. 

“This drive is a concrete expression of our heritage as a Catholic institution rooted in the tradition of the Sisters of Mercy. It demonstrates our commitment to the Biblical injunction to ‘welcome the stranger’ in the book of Deuteronomy and perform the corporal ‘works of Mercy’ set forth by Jesus Christ in the gospel of Matthew. Moreover, it demonstrates our commitment to the Critical Concern of ‘Immigration’ that the Sisters of Mercy have selected as a priority not only for prayer but also action. This drive, and other drives like this that take place during the year, consistently establish and reestablish our heritage for the campus community,” Jeff Wallace, Director of Campus Ministry.

Learn more about the Afghan Placement and Assistance Program.

Learn more about Catholic Social Services.