Green Street Meeting’s EMIR Ministry Support Group says a heartfelt “Thank you!” to everyone at Green Street, the meetings in Philadelphia Quarter, and beyond who supported our school supplies drive in summer 2018.
The drive benefited 103 children whose families had lost a loved one to homicide, and who received services and support from the EMIR Healing Center. The center was founded by our member Victoria Greene, and named in memory of her son Emir, who was murdered. The name also makes the statement “Every Murder Is Real.” No matter who the victim was, or how much or little attention the crime received, that person’s loved ones are mourning their loss for years afterwards.
Still going strong in Philadelphia’s Germantown neighborhood, after 19 years, the EMIR Healing Center continues to help families survive and eventually heal from the pain of losing a loved one to homicide.
Friends from Green Street Meeting formed the EMIR Ministry Support Group in early 2018. We use the Quaker Social Change Ministry model, developed by American Friends Service Committee (especially Green Street member Lucy Duncan). In this model, a group of Quakers partner with a local organization led by people most impacted by a particular issue. The Quaker group follows their lead in deciding what to work on. The model also makes time for spiritual sharing, connection, and reflection, leading to deeper relationship, followership, and grounding of action.
Victoria asked our group at Green Street to organize a drive to provide backpacks with school supplies to the children EMIR serves. When a parent is mourning a murdered family member, whether it be a brother, sister, parent, or child, it can be very hard for them to keep things together for the rest of the family. They may be depressed and overwhelmed, and not as able to track things like school start dates and supply lists. They may lose income or even their job.
Our ministry support group got organized in the spring, asked the Meeting to take us under their care, and then spent the summer campaigning and publicizing the drive. An online buying service was set up so supporters could buy things and have them shipped directly to EMIR. (See this PYM news story from May 2018.)
With a couple of weeks to go before our deadline, we had 51 backpacks, toward our goal of 85. And then we found out there were 103 kids served by EMIR! With God’s abundance, people came through. We had enough to serve every child. We raised about $1,750 in donations, which enabled us to fill gaps in what was bought online or contributed in person.
The week before school started, we gave away 103 backpacks with school supplies in them at the EMIR office. The little children in particular were overjoyed. There were even a few backpacks left over, in case other children have a need.
Victoria said it was a great success and thanked our support group for doing the project and everyone who contributed supplies, funds, or time.
To everyone who purchased supplies online, dropped off supplies directly at the Meetinghouse or at the EMIR office, or made a donation, THANK YOU!
– Chris Mohr, support group convenor
Photo: Victoria Greene, member of Green Street Meeting and founder of EMIR Healing Center, with a box used to collect school supplies. Learn more about EMIR at emirphilly.org.