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Posts Tagged ‘families’

Photo: Daniella Cheslow/NPR
Jeff Britten stands in the doorway of the Baptist chapel in Haverfordwest, Wales, where he meets regularly with other members of his group sponsoring a refugee family. The name of the group is Croeso Hwlffordd, or Welcome Haverfordwest in Welsh.

What can I say? There are kind people everywhere. This story is about the efforts of residents of a small village in Wales to welcome refugee families from Syria. It’s not necessarily an easy thing to do — there are so many differences in experience and culture. But these people knew it was the right thing to do.

Daniella Cheslow writes at National Public Radio, “Back in February, Jeff Britten sent a description of Haverfordwest, his town of 13,000 people in southwestern Wales, to a family of Syrian refugees living in Jordan.

” ‘I ran around town and took pictures of the castle, the best bits, the River Cleddau,’ Britten says. ‘I produced a map which showed the location of the house, and that everything was in walking distance, supermarkets, schools, a mosque. It was all there for them.’

“He hoped the family, whom he contacted with the help of the Home Office, which controls U.K. immigration, would come live in Wales. At that stage, he knew little about them, only that they were Syrians recognized as refugees by the United Nations.

“Britten is 71 and retired from the pharmaceutical industry. The idea to reach out to Syrian refugees came in late 2016, when he heard that two other Welsh villages had adopted refugees from the country, and he called a meeting in a Baptist chapel in his own town to inspire his neighbors to do the same. …

“The refugees have come to Wales as part of a community sponsorship program that began in the U.K. in 2016. A group of British citizens can commit to providing refugees help with housing, navigating schools and doctors, language and the job search.

“Twenty-five Syrian refugee families have arrived and been settled so far in the U.K. via community sponsorship; of those, six families went to Wales. …

“In Haverfordwest, about 30 residents answered Britten’s call and signed up to sponsor the newcomers. … Jenny Blackmore had worked with Syrian refugees in the nearby town of Narberth and noticed that housing was often a stumbling block to fulfilling the government’s conditions. Landlords had to keep their homes open while the Home Office processed the resettlement application, and the government paid a lower rental rate than the market could offer.

“Blackmore’s mother had recently died and left her an inheritance. She invested it in a three-bedroom, two-story rowhouse in the center of Haverfordwest, with the aim of housing a refugee family.

” ‘I decided it would be a sort of fitting legacy, really, to my mum and dad’s memory, to do something — yeah, it’s an investment for my family, but it’s also a kind of investment in people’s lives,’ she says.”

More here.

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Imagine how chuffed I was to see this article about Suzanne by Charmaine Gahan!

A close friend since kindergarten, Charmaine has been a huge support to Suzanne and the birthstone-jewelry company that hosts this blog, Luna & Stella.

In a delightful report, Charmaine describes how her whole family joined Suzanne’s family in New York City over school vacation to lend a hand at the Playtime trade show, a big deal for promoting new products to retail shops around the world.

Among the highlights of Suzanne’s growing collections are sweet Mama + Me bracelets, just in time for Mothers Day (May 8), and some stunning vintage lockets.

Notes the website, “All of the lockets in the Luna & Stella Vintage Collection were made in Providence, East Providence or Attleboro between 1880 and 1940.”

Why vintage mixed with contemporary? That’s kind of an interesting story, too, being the result of a hunt for beautiful hinges to use in new lockets. After the long search, Suzanne concluded that they just don’t make smooth and subtle hinges like they used to.

But sometimes an apparent dead end can lead to even better ideas, and Luna & Stella’s cool mixing of old and new seems to be an idea that is catching on.

At the Concord Journal (here), you can read more about the two friends and their families working the trade show in New York during the coldest week of the year.

Photo: Charmaine’s girls join Suzanne to look over the Mama + Me collection from Luna & Stella.

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With increasing numbers of Americans experiencing food insecurity, it seems like an appropriate time of year to be grateful that at least there are many goodhearted people managing food banks and community meals and doing what they can.

If you know of anyone in New England who could use the help just now, or if you want to volunteer or donate, this partial list may be a good starting place.

Rhode Island

http://www.rifoodbank.org
“The Rhode Island Community Food Bank works to end hunger in our state by providing food to people in need. We envision a day when all Rhode Islanders have access to nutritious food and a healthy lifestyle.

Massachusetts

East
http://Gbfb.org
“The Greater Boston Food Bank’s mission is to End Hunger Here. Our objective is to distribute enough food to provide at least one meal a day to those in need.”

West
https://www.foodbankwma.org/
“We are fortunate to live in such a special part of the country, allowing for the growth and harvest of a multitude of fresh fruits and vegetables. As this harvest season comes to an end, we have received more than 266,800 pounds of fresh produce — including potatoes, lettuce, carrots, apples and squash — donated by local farms this year.”

Vermont

http://www.vtfoodbank.org/FindFoodShelf.aspx
“If you are looking for a place to have a Thanksgiving meal or to volunteer to help cook, serve or clean-up, download our list of Thanksgiving meals.”

New Hampshire

http://www.nhfoodbank.org/
“Need Food? We Can Help. If you are in need of assistance, use our search to locate the nearest food pantry or soup kitchen to you. Search by your town or county, or view all of our partner agencies.”

Maine

http://www.foodpantries.org/st/maine
“There are several food pantries and food banks in the Maine. With help from users like you we have compiled a list of some. If you know of a listing that is not included here please submit new food pantries to our database.”

Connecticut

http://www.ctfoodbank.org/
“The mission of Connecticut Food Bank is to provide nutritious food to people in need. We distribute food and other resources to nearly 700 local emergency food assistance programs in six of Connecticut’s eight counties: Fairfield, Litchfield, Middlesex, New Haven, New London and Windham.”

harvest

 

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The rainy Saturday turned out to be gorgeous, so we went to the Somerville PorchFest and ran into some people we know.

A variety of bands play on porches around the town.  Neighbors sit on their steps to listen, families and college students wander in, entertainers entertain, and almost everyone is moved to dance.

My grandson and his best friend are pictured cutting a rug.

Read about this annual event here.

one-porch-fest-band

somerville-porchfest-051714

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

twirling-balls-on-string

dancers-at-porch-fest

 

 

 

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The-hammering-toy

When I arrived at Suzanne’s house after work yesterday, my grandson was having a bath. I hadn’t seen him for a few weeks. I stood in the bathroom doorway and smiled. When he saw me, he stared for a few moments. Then he got a funny little smile on his face and said, “Huh.”

Today we went with Suzanne to the Music Together class. I had decided to take a vacation day. His other three grandparents had already seen music class, and I was determined to get there, especially after hearing that last time he crawled into some unknown grandma’s lap for the lullaby!

Music Together is a great thing for babies and toddlers and their grownups. It’s franchised around the country. My husband and I attended one session a couple years ago with my older grandson in Arlington (where I believe Will McMillan now teaches, and wouldn’t I like to attend that one!)

Today’s class was chaotic and fun, with lots of rhythm and movement activities and little kids running around and banging percussive toys. They were all very good about putting the instruments back in the proper bins. (There’s a special bin called Taster’s Choice. That’s for the instruments that have gone in someone’s mouth during the exercises and thus need extra attention.)

After the little man and I both had a nap, we went to the Children’s Museum. 🙂

Prov-RI-Children-Museum

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