Christmas appeal for Rome's refugees

Joel Nafuma Refugees Center Christmas appeal.

The Joel Nafuma Refugee Center (JNRC) at the American Episcopal Church of Rome, St Paul’s Within the Walls, is holding its annual Christmas Gift Bag Appeal between now and 15 December.

The United Nations High Commission on Refugees (UNHCR) says the world is experiencing the worst refugee crisis since records began, with Italy one of the nations most affected.

The JNRC is appealing for practical Christmas gifts for the refugees in its care, and says the initiative does not cost much, is fun to do, and can involve families, schools and workplaces. The appeal is for basic necessities for those who are less fortunate.

Donors are asked not to buy large or expensive items but to stick to this list: toothbrushes, toothpaste, socks, chewing gum, razors, gloves, bus tickets, chocolate, paper towels, phone cards, playing cards, hats, combs, scarves, notebooks, pens, lip balm, underwear and soap. The JNRC says that a large number of small items can help many more people than a few large costly purchases. All items should be new.

Donations should be taken to St Paul’s Within the Walls on Via Napoli 58, by Tuesday 15 December. They can be dropped off at the church office during the week between 10.00 and 15.30 and on Sundays before the start of the 10.30 service. The items can also be delivered on Saturday 12 December during the centre's annual Holiday Market, from 10.00-17.00.

The initiative is organised with the support of Churches Together, an ecumenical body comprising 11 mainly English-speaking churches in Rome. The presents will be divided evenly among the refugees and handed out at the centre’s Christmas party.

Located in the crypt of St Paul’s, the JNRC was founded in 1995 and welcomes more than 200 guests each weekday, from 08.30 to 14.00.

For more details about the JNRC see website.

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