In an effort to empower Erie area refugees, Mercyhurst University and the House of Mercy are teaming up to host the Global Gifts Fair on Thursday, March 21, from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the university’s Carolyn Herrmann Student Union. Donated craft items are needed to make this event a success.
The fair will showcase handcrafted, original works of art made by area refugees from Europe, Africa and the Middle East. Jewelry-making, woodcarving, knitting and weaving are some of the talents of these contributing artists. Proceeds will directly benefit the artists and their families.
While these men and women are excited about participating in the fair, many refugees are unable to purchase supplies; therefore, Mercyhurst and the Sisters of Mercy are seeking craft donations to support the needs of these participating artists.
Any crafting materials, such as fabrics, beads, buttons, yarn, thread, ribbon, clay, paper, paint, etc., will be accepted. At the same time, donations of nonperishable food items and toiletries will also be collected before and during the Global Gifts Fair to benefit refugees.
For at least a decade, refugees from countries such as Bhutan, Nepal, Iraq and Eritrea have sought safety and protection in Erie. Mercyhurst social work major Sister Kade Browne of Liberia recently began working with refugees in Erie as part of her Social Work Practice III course. According to Sister Kade, who is working on this project with Mercyhurst senior Brittany Miklos, many of the area’s refugees are unemployed and need help providing for their families.
“If we are going to empower these men and women, we need to first assist them in any way we can,” she said. “While working with these families, we have been trying to share this idea that hard work pays off. If they work hard, they can be successful in the community where they live.
”Collection boxes will be provided around the university’s Erie campus, including the lobby of Old Main, the Student Union and Egan Dining Hall. Off-campus locations include the House of Mercy, 2005 Woodlawn Ave., and the Sisters of Mercy Mother House, 444 E. Grandview. For more information, please contact Sister Kade at 814-824-3314, or Sister Michelle at 814-898-0167.