(Washington, D.C.) April 13, 2015 — John McLaughlin, an employee of Boston College and a parishioner at St. Ignatius Church in Newton, Mass., is again running in the Boston Marathon to raise funds to support the work of Jesuit Refugee Service/USA. This is his third marathon effort for refugees.
Mr. McLaughlin said he is asking friends, family members and others to partner with him at $1 per mile for the 26.2 mile run. This year's Boston Marathon is next Monday, April 20.
"I’ve been following all the commotion of the Middle East for a few years," Mr. McLaughlin said. "I know Jesuit Refugee Service does a lot of work there. I know I can't do a lot for those folks but this is something. Perhaps it will communicate some small solidarity, that's my hope and my intention in raising the money."
JRS/USA is one of 10 regions of Jesuit Refugee Service, an international Catholic organization with a mission to accompany, serve and defend the rights of refugees and forcibly displaced people around the world.
Mr. McLaughlin, who is married and the father of three daughters, is a Boston College graduate, and currently works in the IT Dept. supporting Human Resources at the college.
Asked what his daughters thinks of his marathoning, he joked, "They're teenagers! They don't notice what parents do!"
"More seriously," he continued, "one asked me last week if I would still be running them in 10 years, that we could do one together. Since I pretty much take them one at a time, I don't have any idea if this will come to pass, but I would consider it quite a blessing if it does! It would be a great experience to share."
"JRS is doing the work of the Gospel in a very concrete way," Mr. McLaughlin said. "JRS is working with people and in situations that most of us don’t think of. It is good to know that someone is accompanying these forgotten people and advocating on their behalf," he said.
People are invited to support Mr. McLaughlin and his efforts for JRS by clicking here and making a secure online donation. Donors are invited to write 'Boston Marathon' in the donation box to indicate they are supporting Mr. McLaughlin's efforts.
Below are some examples of what financial support can achieve in the Middle East:
• $11.55: a pair of school shoes, or a school bag, for one child
• $45: complete school uniform for a child
• $68: one month's rent of an apartment for a displaced family (often families of more than six people all live together in one room)
• $92: 100 liters of heating oil (for winter)
• $105: a basic family kit: one mattress, two sheets, one pillow, two blankets and two towels
• $130: a food-basket for a five-person family for one month
• $160: winter clothing for one family (pullover, jacket, trousers, shoes)
• $5,300: one day support for the families sheltered in the schools in Aleppo
• $11,419: cost of running a field kitchen per month in Damascus, providing 2,700 hot meals each day
• $65,000: cost of running a field kitchen per month in Aleppo, providing 17,000 hot meals each day
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is an international Catholic non-governmental organization whose mission is to accompany, serve and advocate for the rights of refugees and other forcibly displaced persons.
To accompany means to be a companion. We are companions of Jesus, so we wish to be companions of those with whom he preferred to be associated, the poor and the outcast. JRS services are made available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs. JRS advocates for just and generous policies and programs for the benefit of victims of forced displacement, so that those made vulnerable by exile can receive support and protection and durable solution to their plight can be achieved.
JRS/USA witnesses to God’s presence in vulnerable and often forgotten people driven from their homes by conflict, natural disaster, economic injustice, or violation of their human rights.
As one of the ten geographic regions of Jesuit Refugee Service, JRS/USA serves as the major refugee outreach arm of U.S. Jesuits and their institutional ministries, mobilizing their response to refugee situations in the U.S. and abroad. Through our advocacy and fund raising efforts, JRS/USA provides support for the work of JRS throughout the world.
JRS/USA gives help, hope, ear and voice to vulnerable people on the move by being present to and bearing witness to their plight; by relieving their human suffering and restoring hope; by addressing the root causes of their displacement and improving international responses to refugee situations.
In addition, JRS/USA inspires the Ignatian family and others to respond together to the needs of refugees and displaced persons worldwide and forges strong partnerships with like-minded institutions and agencies devoted to the cause of refugees and displaced persons.
JRS works in more than 50 countries worldwide to meet the educational, health, social and other needs of approximately 950,000 refugees and other forcibly displaced persons, more than half of whom are women. JRS services are available to refugees and displaced persons regardless of their race, ethnic origin, or religious beliefs.
Approximately 240,000 children, young people and adults receive primary, secondary, tertiary and vocational education services each year. JRS places the highest priority on ensuring a better future for refugees by investing heavily in education and training. Further, JRS undertakes advocacy to ensure all displaced children be provided with access to quality education. JRS services are provided to refugees regardless of race, ethnic origin or religious beliefs.
Jesuit Refugee Service/USA is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization. Donations are tax-deductible to the fullest extent allowed by law.