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October 2020

October 2020

Stories from Refugee Task Force * Photos from the Share and Learn Garden * Update from our mission partners *Changes at the food pantry *Heart to Heart announces $20K match

by Amy Caskie on October 01, 2020

October 2020

Jan and Marcy Zinnia Project

In late August, Jan Underwood and Marcy Miller put together bouquets for the Mary Evans teachers at First Community North. These bouquets, pictured {above/below} were put together with fresh flowers from the pollinator bed in the  Share and Learn Garden, in cans recycled by Jan herself. Teachers were grateful for the bright spot in their week.

Tandana Foundation

We continue to receive frequent positive updates from the Tandana Foundation as their work perseveres through the COVID-19 pandemic. Read some of their updates by clicking the links below, or follow their blog at blog.tandanafoundation.org

Johnston Contributions

Many of you may know that First Community member, Brian Johnson is a prolific artist. Not only does his art contribute to the beauty in the world, but lately it has also provided financial assistance to those in need. Connie, Brian's wife, has taken to social media in recent months to offer Brian's artwork for sale. The accepted form of payment? A donation to First Community! Several thousand dollars have been raised already for the Refugee Task Force and Heart to Heart food pantry through the efforts of the Johnstons. We are so grateful for the talent and generosity showed through this effort. Below are the paintings that have been sold.

Fire Relief

In worship on Sunday, September 13, Glen asked First Community to contribute to the Week of Compassion fund for wildfire relief. To date, we have gathered donations totaling $2,985 and will send the funds to the organization next week.

Refugee Task Force Update

If you’ve watched worship services recently, you’ve heard Rev. Miles and Rev. Shaner talk about Latifa. Latifa and her husband, Kwesi, left their home in Ghana fleeing for their lives. They were able to get visas allowing them to go to Brazil. From there they made their way to the U.S. in hopes of being granted asylum. Their journey was a long ordeal - they walked from Honduras to the U.S. border and swam across the river between Mexico and Texas. Latifa was 8-months pregnant at the time. The border patrol detained Kwesi, but allowed Latifa to go by bus to Columbus where she knew a couple from Ghana. That day in August was when the Refugee Task Force got the call.

Latifa arrived at the bus station in Columbus with nothing but the clothes she was wearing and a cellphone given to her by an organization serving immigrants in Texas. A minister associated with that group had called Rev. Miles alerting him that this woman was on her way and needed help.

Led by Rev. Shaner, the Refugee Task Force went into action. We bought clothing and toiletries for Latifa. We helped her with transportation to the doctor. Kate was with her for the birth of her son on September 20. We hired an immigration lawyer to represent Latifa and Kwesi at asylum hearings. We rented and furnished an apartment for the family. Latifa and her son, Ateeb, have a new home. They await the release of Kwesi and his arrival in Columbus. Members of the task force talk with Latifa almost daily giving her encouragement and support.

So this is the beginning of a long story! It’s an unusual story for the Refugee Task Force. We don’t usually work with asylum seekers, but in our 40-year history, we have resettled numerous refugee families. We have the know-how to come to the aid of Latifa, and we did not hesitate to step up when we got the call. 

Interested in making a contribution?

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act offers enhanced tax incentives for making charitable contributions for the 2020 tax year including an above-the-line deduction for individuals who do not itemize.

In general, the itemized charitable deduction for any tax year is limited to a percentage of the taxpayer's adjusted gross income (AGI). The percentage is determined by the type of organization receiving the donation and the type of property donated. For the 2020 tax year, individuals can claim an unlimited itemized deduction for charitable contributions which are normally limited to 50 percent of AGI.

Also, beginning in tax year 2020, an individual who does not itemize deductions can deduct up to $300 in charitable contributions made to churches, nonprofit schools, nonprofit medical institutions, and other organizations as an above-the-line deduction in calculating adjusted gross income. This allows an individual to claim a deduction for a charitable contribution, even if the individual does not itemize deductions.

This information should not be construed as tax advice. Consult a tax advisor if there are further questions.

Donations to the General Mission Fund or specific partner missions can be made online here.

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