In late 2020, the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Richmond received a generous gift from New Hanover Church in Mechanicsville. After selling a piece of land, the church used a portion of the proceeds to purchase a 15-passenger van for IRC Richmond.
IRC provides opportunities for refugees to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of refugees are invited by the U.S. government to seek safety and freedom. Forced to flee conflict or persecution, many have survived for years against incredible odds. They step off the plane with next to nothing but their dignity, hope and determination. IRC helps them rebuild their lives.
The vehicle will support services and programming for both IRC Richmond and partner ReEstablish Richmond. The organizations will use it to transport refugee families from the airport to their new homes and then to classes and medical appointments.
Rev. Dr. Robert Johnson, pastor of New Hanover Church said, “We’ve felt a calling to help our neighbors for some time. [Donating this van] shares our care and concern for those who have fled violence and disruption to make a new life in the U.S. During the Christmas season, it’s also a tangible way for us to demonstrate the faith we celebrate at this time of year.”
The church presented the van to IRC Richmond at an event in December that also served as a coat drive. Members of New Hanover Church and the community donated more than 600 new and gently-used winter coats and warm clothing and accessories. IRC Richmond distributed the items January 23 to 85 families.