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Indianapolis church providing hope and resources for refugee families

Posted at 7:07 PM, Nov 23, 2022
and last updated 2022-11-23 19:07:38-05

INDIANAPOLIS — An Indianapolis northside church is doing what it can to help thousands of African refugees feel welcome in Indiana this Thanksgiving.

Wednesday, New Heights church gave out care packages filled with food for Thanksgiving. Clothes, bed sheets, towels, and more.

The goal is to help the refugees with anything they may need.

The idea came about after two pastors became friends.

One from Africa and another one from Indianapolis.

David Bates and Kenneth Johnson decided to partner up to provide resources for refugees.

"We are just being here standing in the gap for some people who don't have anything," Johnson said. "They come over with just a suitcase with some tattered clothes, a lot of times they don't have anything. Not even language so."

It's something the refugees say they're grateful for after fleeing war, violence, and other unsafe conditions.

"I appreciate these things, a lot. I appreciate it so much," Fabiola Muhindo said. "Everything is expensive, food, clothes. Everything is expensive. It's very tough for now."

Muhindo escaped from Congo and has been living in the US since 2007.

She is a single mother of 5 and says resources like these are helpful.

"In Congo, we have a lot of war. They rape women, they rape young children. The experience is very scary. It's not safe, it's not safe at all. That's why we ran away," Muhindo said.

The transition hasn't been easy for Muhindo, especially with inflation.

"Everything is expensive, food, clothes. Everything is expensive. It's very tough for now," she said.

Bates is a pastor for the Ebenezer Indy African Church.

He was born and raised in Africa and traveled to the United States from Kenya for college.

"Africa is part of you, it never leaves you," Bates said. "People gathering around their needs and their love for each other and let's see if we can't turn this into something that will really make a difference."