Refugees Serve South Carolinians

 In Telling a Better Story

Refugees living in the Moria Camp in Lesvos, Greece, are supporting churchgoers in South Carolina during the pandemic, Nic Jones at CBS News 19 reports.

Over the last three and a half years, “close to 300 people” from South Carolina Baptist churches have been taking trips to Lesvos to serve refugees at Moria, said Robbie McAlister, a consultant in ethnic ministry, refugee work and immigration.

Now, in response to COVID-19, the refugees living in Moria decided to help those who have helped them by making masks — so far around 2,000 — and shipping them to churches in South Carolina like River Springs Church in Irmo.

McAlister coordinated the effort with When We Band Together and the Evangelical Immigration Table to receive and distribute masks to churches in South Carolina’s Midlands region. They arrived with a note in the box that reads: “These were handmade by refugee volunteers in Lesvos, Greece. We sent them to you for your safety and health. We are all one people and must protect one another.”

In a piece also published in the Columbia Star, McAlister’s alma mater, Columbia International University, notes that those in Lesvos “have fled desperate situations in Central Asia, Africa, and the Middle East, and live in a camp of over 15,000 people designed to accommodate only 2,500 people.”

The university itself is also receiving masks: “CIU Dean of Student[s] Rick Swift, who received the delivery of the masks, says they will be placed in offices around campus to be used as needed with a posted explanation of who made them.”

The “Only in America” podcast featured a two-part conversation with When We Band Together co-founder Zoe Pappis Schultz, who helped coordinate the delivery of the masks to South Carolina, and with McAlister and David Lee, a Southern Baptist director of missions, discussing the response to the masks in South Carolina.

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