Tuesday, August 25, 2020

ProGente Connections’s Pandemic Respons

 A Deacon founded and led nonprofit near Boston, MA

Lori Mills-Curran

 ProGente Connections is a coalition of Episcopal, Lutheran (ELCA) and Presbyterian (PCA) churches empowering and supporting the huge population of Brazilians living west of Boston, MA.  A Lutheran and an Episcopal deacon were instrumental in its founding.  PGC has served immigrants for several years with English classes for adults, children’s Portuguese classes, immigrant rights advocacy, citizenship help, and Orientation to American culture classes.    

 Amid an unprecedented political attack against immigrants, the US immigrant community is experiencing a storm of fear, illness, legal jeopardy, unemployment, isolation and hostility. Most are not eligible for government payroll loans, unemployment benefits, medical insurance or food aid.  Many lost service sector jobs or businesses.  Many are exposed to the virus daily with limited protective gear or information about its use. Childcare is gone and evictions loom.   Coming from areas with no rule of law, many people are terrified by recent US social unrest.  Extended families are in danger of infection in Brazil.  

 ProGente Connections has assembled practical aid such as food and cleaning supplies.  It is tapping local churches and charitable organizations for support for current needs, while moving all possible programs online.   PGC currently serves 47 families.  

 (Photo: Lori Mills-Curran, Deacon, Episcopal Church, Boston)

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