Corpus Christi Parish in Stone Mountain, Georgia, is unique among tCI communities because it is ethnically and culturally diverse and has a large refugee population from as many as 12 countries. In fact, the area served by the parish has received more than 16,000 refugees in the last 10 years, more than the rest of Georgia combined.
Among the many challenges facing the refugee population is the issue of transportation. Without a U.S. driver’s license or regular access to a vehicle, many families are cut off from services, jobs, and other support. The Corpus Christi refugee transportation program provides transportation for refugees from the surrounding area who wish to participate in the parish community.
Volunteers from the community use a 12-passenger van to pick up and drop off those in need of transportation. This program runs every Sunday starting at 6:30 am and other times when families need transportation for a range of important events—appointments with doctors, meetings with government officials, parish programs such as English-as-a-second-language classes, and even parish social events.
About 17 families regularly use the program, including 20–25 adults and 40 or more children. Participants come from many countries, including the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Republic of the Congo, Central African Republic, South Sudan, and Burma.
The program began several years ago after the parish began to see an increase in attendance at Masses by refugees from the nearby town of Clarkston who were in need of parish services and looking for a place to build connections with the community. Were it not for this program, many refugees would have to walk as far as five miles along streets that aren’t always safe for pedestrians or spend at least an hour on the bus to get to the parish. This program allows them to safely and quickly get to Corpus Christi and other destinations.
This program also brings aid and assistance to the participants at home. At Thanksgiving and Christmas, volunteers use the van to deliver large boxes of food for each of the families in the program, as well as clothing and other presents.
Please consider making a donation to this program to help the refugees in Stone Mountain or learn more about the community and the tCI programs serving it. You can keep up with tCI and our communities by following and liking us on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or by signing up for our email newsletter.