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Miracles That Happened Last Week While Helping Our Refugee Family

Bill Brinkhorst and I met with the family in their city apartment Friday, expecting to take them to buy toilet seats for their three-year-old, and eventually the baby. But, the first issue to solve was focused on medication that had just been prescribed for the kids. The father has Medicaid support, and doctors that are caring for the children work with St. Lucas UCC's Marty Schmidt.

The father also has a WIC card, which gives him access to fresh, healthy food--a state program to encourage poor kids to eat healthily. We drove to Schnuck's, and quickly realized how hard shopping would be for us, who had no experience shopping with WIC, and the dad, who spoke and read almost no English. A miracle happened, the store's floor manager saw our need, dropped everything, and spent 15 minutes showing us how the applicable foods are displayed, and showing us the details of the card use.

Then, a second miracle happened. We approached the CVS pharmacy with just the family's name and photos of their ID cards, and the druggist spent 10 minutes helping us fill the scripts, then walked with us to the aisle where we found a medication that was equal to the prescription, but cheaper. Finally, the same floor manager found the baby formula that we had forgotten, and rang us through without another checkout line wait.

We returned with loads of groceries, then looked at the apartment's dark musty basement where we want to install a used washing machine and dryer that we hope to find on the internet. This would likely be more economical than spending $3.50/per wash laundromat.

Next, we learned that one daughter needed a shampoo for head lice, a common problem that immigrants often pick up in the shuffles between temporary shelters.

So, we headed to Walmart for the toilet seats and the special shampoo. We returned early that evening, and sat to talk and figure out the library-furnished "hotspot" that would allow the family to have some internet connectivity. Shirley Bild and Kathy Herron had helped them learn about the library's many offerings, such a valuable public resource. We were treated to a delicious tea with milk, sugar and salt, and nut snacks. We explained how to deal with many other needs, but struggled with language, wearing out our Google Translate app on our phones.

We talked over our successes and future choices on Sunday at church between services.

More news to come.

- Donovan

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