77 School Backpacks Delivered For Refugee And Asylee Students – Thank You Los Alamos!

Mohammed Monir, Lutheran Family Services head of education programs, and Kate Massengale, Interfaith Los Alamos volunteer coordinator,  prepare to unload school backpacks just arrived from Los Alamos. Courtesy photo

Lutheran Family Services, Albuquerque. Courtesy photo

Farid Sharifi, director of LFS, right, and Mohammad Munir, head of education programs, stand in front of storage racks filled with newly arrived school backpacks from Los Alamos, ready to be distributed to refugee and asylee families arriving in Albuquerque. Courtesy photo

Interfaith Los Alamos

On August 24, thanks to the generosity of many folks in Los Alamos, the Interfaith Los Alamos team was able to deliver 77 backpacks fully loaded with all the necessary items for refugee students, ages K-12, newly arrived In Albuquerque.  It required a large SUV, courtesy of Bethlehem Evangelical Lutheran Church, to transport this many backpacks to Lutheran Family Services (LFS) in Albuquerque. LFS currently is the only agency in New Mexico chartered to receive refugees and asylees (those seeking asylum in the US). We also want to give a special shout out to Bethlehem Lutheran, Trinity on the Hill Episcopal, the Unitarian, and the White Rock United Methodist Churches for serving as drop off points and helping to get the word out about this year’s refugee backpack drive.

The director of LFS in Albuquerque, Farid Sharifi, and the head of education programs, Mohammad Munir (shown in the photo), expressed their deep appreciation for these donations from Los Alamos. They are especially appreciative of the fact that the backpacks contain complete sets of materials for the Albuquerque Public Schools. New refugee families are arriving every week in Albuquerque, and It is a huge help that these newly arrived students have everything they need to get started in a new and totally strange (to them) environment. 

There also many stories of the personal rewards accruing from such generosity. Like the retired grade-school teacher who was recently collecting school supplies at a store to fill a couple of refugee backpacks. An elderly gentlemen asked if she was a teacher getting ready for school to start. She said no, and then told him why she was buying school supplies. Immediately he pulled out his wallet and gave her some money because he wanted to help-out. It so happened that there was also another young lady close by who was trying to decide what to buy. She was a first-year teacher getting ready for her first assignment as a grade-school teacher. The retired teacher gave her words of encouragement as she started her new profession, and then gave her the money from the gentlemen to help her get started.

Again, a heartfelt THANK YOU to Los Alamos for your generosity. And a HEADS UP – there will be another drive for warm coats later this fall for newly arrived refugees.  For more information, contact interfaith.losalamos@gmail.com.