Students in Hilliard Serve New Neighbors

Written by Max Alvarez

SLAM participant, Cora, talks to customers about the “New Neighbors, International Bakers and Makers” booth at a local farmer’s market and explains how it helps to support refugee women and their families.

SLAM participant, Cora, talks to customers about the “New Neighbors, International Bakers and Makers” booth at a local farmer’s market and explains how it helps to support refugee women and their families.

Last week a group of SLAM facilitators traveled to Hilliard, Ohio to facilitate a Hometown SLAM experience for youth from First Presbyterian of Independence, Iowa and Cornerstone Christian Fellowship of Hilliard, Ohio.

Every Tuesday, Cornerstone Christian Fellowship facilitates a time for refugee women to gather together and build relationships, with an emphasis on learning and practicing English. This last week, SLAM helped mobilize the youth to spend time with this group of refugee women from Iraq, Syria, Bangladesh, Japan, Morocco, and more, to listen to their stories. Students asked questions about the women’s families, life in the States, and past times. Cooking and food is something that came up often in these conversations and one SLAM student said, “Sharing and comparing our cooking abilities really bonded us together.” 

The speaker for the week, Stephen Ownby, discussed the summer’s theme, Da Mission, and how our mission as children of God to look like Jesus! He highlighted that part of that mission is to serve the refugees and immigrants in our hometowns.

The speaker for the week, Stephen Ownby, discussed the summer’s theme, Da Mission, and how our mission as children of God to look like Jesus! He highlighted that part of that mission is to serve the refugees and immigrants in our hometowns.

After the class was over, a few students got the opportunity to help three refugee women set up their stand at the local farmer’s market. These three women (from Sudan, Morocco, and Iraq) with the help of Cornerstone Christian Fellowship, run a booth where they sell their homemade goods ranging from samosas to mama ganoush. Selling their food helps them to provide for their families in a way that they are familiar with, and be able to share part of their culture with their new neighbors. The SLAM participants helped set the booth up, but they also assisted by bringing in customers and explaining to them what the booth was and how it was helping the women and their families. 

The students took to heart God’s command in Leviticus 19:33-34 when he said, “When an alien resides with you in your land, you shall not oppress the alien. The alien who resides with you shall be to you as the citizen among you; you shall love the alien as yourself, for you were aliens in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.” This kind of hospitality is rarely practiced in our world today, so thank you First Presbyterian and Cornerstone Christian youth for loving your new neighbors among you and making God proud!

SLAM participants helped the refugee women put together backpacks for new international students attending Ohio State University. Simple things like gathering school supplies can be difficult when you don’t know the language or where to shop for items!

SLAM participants helped the refugee women put together backpacks for new international students attending Ohio State University. Simple things like gathering school supplies can be difficult when you don’t know the language or where to shop for items!