Dear Diocese of Kalamazoo,
As you may have heard over the last few months, Starr Commonwealth in Albion (Calhoun County) has opened its residential facility to provide housing for hundreds of unaccompanied migrant children in response to an urgent request from the U.S. government. In coordination with the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) and the Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR), Starr Commonwealth will provide temporary shelter for these children until they can be reunited with family or placed with sponsors.
Catholic Charities Diocese of Kalamazoo’s mission is “We are God’s hands providing housing, health, and hope to His children.” As the service arm of the Church, we are diligently working to understand how we can serve the influx of refugee children that have recently arrived at Starr Commonwealth. Catholic Charities is in communication with the leadership at Starr Commonwealth, and recently toured the facility, to better understand the needs of the children and how we as a Diocese can be of assistance. Thank you to the many in our community that have already reached out to find out how we can care for these children.
Starr Commonwealth is housing up to 240 children (ages 5-17 years) and the average stay is 38 days before a child is reunited with family or placed with a sponsor in Michigan. Currently, the Federal Government is providing bilingual caregivers with child development backgrounds, as well as food, clothing, education, and medical screening/care for all the children. The facilities will be needed for a minimum of one year, but no end date has been given. The Diocese of Kalamazoo is identifying a group of bilingual Priests, Deacons, and Sisters that will support at Starr Commonwealth for the children’s spiritual and sacramental needs. Parish support by collecting rosaries, children’s Spanish language Bibles and Spanish language prayer cards has been identified as wanted and appreciated by the children.
How you can help:
Donate children’s Spanish language Bibles, Spanish language prayer cards and Rosaries by:
- Donating at www.ccdok.org, select the DONATE button, then select the drop-down arrow and click on Unaccompanied Children – Spiritual Materials.
- Purchase items at Newman’s bookstore at 340 E. Michigan Avenue, Kalamazoo https://newmansbookshoppe.com and deliver to Catholic Charities, 1819 Gull Road, Kalamazoo, MI 49048
- Handmade Rosaries and welcome cards are also appreciated and can be mailed or delivered to Catholic Charities.
Pray! Please continue to keep these children and all those assisting them in your prayers.
Please join us in praying for these children and all children at the border and in other relocation centers across the U.S. “Whoever receives one child such as this in my name, receives me; and whoever receives me, receives not me but the One who sent me.” Mark 9:37
Deacon Don Bouchard, DO, MBA
Executive Director, Catholic Charities Diocese of Kalamazo0