On December 11th, the donation plate will be given to Lexington Refugee Assistance Program. LexRAP is a grass roots organization that started a little over a year ago when Marianne Boswell sent an email to the Lexington Listserv and to FP Chat expressing distress over the exploding refugee crisis in the Middle East and Europe, wondering how we can help. The response was tremendous, and a group formed to explore what could be done that is hands-on and tangible.
As an organization, LexRAP has applied and is waiting for Federal 501c status as a non profit. We have begun a tutoring program for families and for unaccompanied minors. LexRAP is working with five refugee families, helping them find housing and providing support as they find their way. LexRAP also works with resettlement agencies, all of which are stretched for resources. Currently, we have one asylee living in Lexington, for whom we provide monetary support. The person arrived and needed warm clothes and Lexingtonians donated sweaters, coats, and boots. Jane and Bob Eckert gave bike riding lessons and First Parish responded with offers of bikes, and now the asylee has wheels! We would like to be able to support more asylees and there are families in the area ready and willing to open their homes but LexRAP does not have the funds to do this. And, come the New Year, we will be launching a laptop donation drive so that we can give refugees, asylum seekers and unaccompanied minors laptops.
Tom Tsaros and Bruce Neumann, along with involved members of First Parish, will be at church on December 11th to discuss LexRAP.