This past weekend my Jr./Sr. High group completed it’s November service project which was a winter wear drive for the Refugee Center in Utica. I know I have mentioned on here that the Refugee Center is a 2nd stop on the way to settlement for Refugees. Some people stay here and some go, but initially this is where they are until that decision is made. Many of the families that we are getting now are from the countries whose conflicts have driven them out. Burma and Somalia are the most recent. These people arrive with nothing or at most, very little. They arrive to a climate dramatically different than what they have lived in their whole lives. For example, this week our low temperature was zero. Winter has come early to CNY and it feels more like January than November. So this coat drive, which a teacher suggested, was timely. In the end, we collected over 350 articles of clothing. The lesson for the kids was to remember that we are here to serve and that we need to look at people who are in dire circumstances as people and not just images. That scratchy wool will touch someone’s skin…those gloves will protect someone’s hands. Remember the person with a mind of hospitality which means; if it is ripped, dirty or too worn do not send it.