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    Spotlight: Bristol Friends Meeting helps resettle Afghan refugees

    Bristol Friends (Quakers) gather for worship on the fourth Sunday of every month, but right now the meetinghouse is full, so full there are barely enough places for people to sit.

    The building is full, not with people, but with tables, beds, cabinets, sofas, chairs, and smaller items gathered over the previous weeks.

    This jumble of furniture and household goods is a sign that tiny Bristol Meeting has found a way to serve their community.

    The historic Quaker meeting is partnering with the Bucks County Interfaith Coalition for Refugee Resettlement (BCICRR) in anticipation of the arrival of Afghan refugee families.

    BCICRR was founded in 2016 as an all-volunteer, interfaith group working to support two Syrian families. In 2022 they are ramping up to support one and possibly two Afghan families as they prepare to resettle in Bucks County.

    Bristol Meeting has been instrumental in helping the organization with two pressing needs: collecting and storing furniture and household items, and since the group is not incorporated as a non-profit, acting as a fiscal sponsor, allowing contributions to BCICRR to be tax-exempt.

    Bristol Meeting has taken their financial support one step further. BCICRR was worried about taking on new responsibilities since the two Syrian families they have sponsored for the last five years still have unmet needs.

    These families are nearly self-sufficient but are not yet able to deal with any unexpected major expenses that might arise, so the group wanted to raise money to have a loan fund available in case of need.

    Bristol Meeting pledged to be BCICRR’s Syrian family rainy day fund in return for BCICRR managing loan repayment. With a loan fund in place BCICRR could confidently move ahead with fund raising to sponsor the incoming Afghan families.

    By partnering with BCICRR, Bristol Meeting, along with other Quaker meetings around Bucks County, can offer hope and the possibility of a brighter future to these incoming refugee families as they leave behind their home country and make a new life here in Bucks County.

    Bristol Friends (Quaker) Meeting, part of Bucks Quarterly Meeting, meets for worship at 10:00am on the fourth Sunday of every month.

    Founded in 1704, the historic meetinghouse is located on the corner of Wood and Market Streets in historic Bristol Borough. Visitors are always welcome; for more information, please visit www.quakersbucks.org/local-meetings/bristol-friends-meeting.

    PHOTO CAP: Paul Shaffer, Clerk of Bristol Meeting, and Maggie Beaumont surrounded by donations at Bristol Meetinghouse

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