What this Mormon campaign for refugees can teach us all about faith.

Few issues in the past year have been as polarizing as the Syrian refugee crisis.

Millions of people displaced by the Syrian civil war have been traveling to the European Union seeking asylum. In some countries, they were welcomed with open arms and recognized as helpless victims of political turmoil happening in their homelands. In other countries, they are treated, essentially, as ISIS until proven otherwise.


Thousands of migrants and refugees, stranded by the Balkan border blockade, have set up a makeshift camp in Idomeni, Greece. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images.

After the terrorist attacks in France, Muslim refugees who had barely just arrived immediately faced the stigma of terrorism unfairly attached to their religion. After the attack at the Brussels airport, leading GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump doubled down on his infamous call to ban Muslims from entering the United States for fear that Islamic terrorism would cross our borders and threaten our security.

Muslims all over the world face prejudice and political turmoil simply for being Muslim, which is difficult even if you're not desperately fleeing from your home country.

In America, the Mormon church is making a dedicated effort to welcome refugees with kindness and compassion.

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (also known as Mormonism) was founded in the 1800s with the belief that it was a restoration of the original church of Jesus Christ. There are over 15 million Mormons and the church is one of the largest Christian denominations in the United States.

Mormons believe, more than anything, in sticking to the exact teachings of Jesus Christ, which mostly involved things like being kind to other people and having empathy for strangers. Teachings that — when it comes to the treatment and rejection of Muslim refugees — often seem to get ironically lost.

Through a new campaign called I Was a Stranger, the church is encouraging Mormons to help refugees get settled in their new neighborhoods.

"Look around your neighborhood, school, workplace, andother places you frequent for those who might need your help and love," say the campaign's guiding principles. After all, in the Bible, according to the Gospel of St. Matthew, "For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in."

The I Was a Stranger initiative asks Mormon women (due to their more traditional roles in Mormon communities) to simply offer what they can, whether it be a meal, a place to stay, or even a simple act of friendship. The campaign encourages LDS members to have empathy for the difficult journey refugees take to get to their new lives, as well as for the culture shock many refugees experience, and to use that empathy to be kind and loving to refugees as they build their lives anew.

The campaign even set up a hotline in the United States for people to call and learnabout opportunities to serve refugees in their communities.


While based strongly in the teachings of Jesus, the I Was a Stranger initiative reaches across religious barriers to spread a message of hope.

Regardless of faith, when people reach out to help others and build community, that's a pretty inspiring thing. In a time when religion is often used to divide people and turn them against each other, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints' decision to help all people, regardless of religion, just goes to show how religion can be used for good to make the world a better place for everyone.

A Kurdish mother and son in a refugee camp in Turkey. Photo by Gokhan Sahin/Getty Images.

At the end of the day, we all have a lot more in common with each other than we think; we all want a happy and safe life for ourselves and our families, and we all want to be treated fairly.

"Do good to parents, kinsfolk, orphans, those in need, neighbors who are near, neighbors who are strangers, the companion by your side."

Sounds like a Bible verse, right?

It's actually from the Quran.

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Often, parents of children with special needs struggle to find Halloween costumes that will accommodate medical equipment or provide a proper fit. And figuring out how to make one? Yikes.

There's good news; shopDisney has added new ensembles to their already impressive line of adaptive play costumes. And from 8/30 - 9/26, there's a 20% off sale for all costume and costume accessory orders of $75+ with code Spooky.

When looking for the right costume, kids with unique needs have a lot of extra factors to consider: wheelchair wheels get tangled up in too-long material, feeding tubes could get twisted the wrong way, and children with sensory processing disorders struggle with the wrong kind of fabric, seams, or tags. There are a lot of different obstacles that can come between a kid and the ability to wear the costume of their choice, which is why it's so awesome that more and more companies are recognizing the need for inclusive creations that make it easy for everyone to enjoy the magic of make-believe.

Created with inclusivity in mind, the adaptive line is designed to discreetly accommodate tubes or wires from the front or the back, with lots of stretch, extra length and roomier cut, and self-stick fabric closures to make getting dressed hassle-free. The online shop provides details on sizing and breaks down the magical elements of each outfit and accessory, taking the guesswork out of selecting the perfect costume for the whole family.

Your child will be able to defeat Emperor Zurg in comfort with the Buzz Lightyear costume featuring a discreet flap opening at the front for easy tube access, with self-stick fabric closure. There is also an opening at the rear for wheelchair-friendly wear, and longer-length inseams to accommodate seated guests. To infinity and beyond!

An added bonus: many of the costumes offer a coordinating wheelchair cover set to add a major boost of fun. Kids can give their ride a total makeover—all covers are made to fit standard size chairs with 24" wheels—to transform it into anything from The Mandalorian's Razor Crest ship to Cinderella's Coach. Some options even come equipped with sounds and lights!

From babies to adults and adaptive to the group, shopDisney's expansive variety of Halloween costumes and accessories are inclusive of all.

Don't forget about your furry companions! Everyone loves to see a costumed pet trotting around, regardless of the occasion. You can literally dress your four-legged friend to look like Sven from Frozen, which might not sound like something you need in your life but...you totally do. CUTENESS OVERLOAD.

This year has been tough for everyone, so when a child gets that look of unfettered joy that comes from finally getting to wear the costume of their dreams, it's extra rewarding. Don't wait until the last minute to start looking for the right ensemble!


*Upworthy may earn a portion of sales revenue from purchases made through affiliate links on our site.

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Over the past six years, it feels like race relations have been on the decline in the U.S. We've lived through Donald Trump's appeals to America's racist underbelly. The nation has endured countless murders of unarmed Black people by police. We've also been bombarded with viral videos of people calling the police on people of color for simply going about their daily lives.

Earlier this year there was a series of incidents in which Asian-Americans were the targets of racist attacks inspired by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Given all that we've seen in the past half-decade, it makes sense for many to believe that race relations in the U.S. are on the decline.

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Photo courtesy of Macy's
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Did you know that girls who are encouraged to discover and develop their strengths tend to be more likely to achieve their goals? It's true. The question, however, is how to encourage girls to develop self-confidence and grow up healthy, educated, and independent.

The answer lies in Girls Inc., a national nonprofit serving girls ages 5-18 in more than 350 cities across North America. Since first forming in 1864 to serve girls and young women who were experiencing upheaval in the aftermath of the Civil War, they've been on a mission to inspire girls to kick butt and step into leadership roles — today and in the future.

This is why Macy's has committed to partnering with Girls Inc. and making it easy to support their mission. In a national campaign running throughout September 2021, customers can round up their in-store purchases to the nearest dollar or donate online to support Girls Inc. and empower girls throughout the country.


Kaylin St. Victor, a senior at Brentwood High School in New York, is one of those girls. She became involved in the Long Island affiliate of Girls Inc. when she was in 9th grade, quickly becoming a role model for her peers.

Photo courtesy of Macy's

Within her first year in the organization, she bravely took on speaking opportunities and participated in several summer programs focused on advocacy, leadership, and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). "The women that I met each have a story that inspires me to become a better person than I was yesterday," said St. Victor. She credits her time at Girls Inc. with making her stronger and more comfortable in her own skin — confidence that directly translates to high achievement in education and the workforce.

In 2020, Macy's helped raise $1.3 million in support of their STEM and college and career readiness programming for more than 26,000 girls. In fact, according to a recent study, Girls Inc. girls are significantly more likely than their peers to enjoy math and science, to be interested in STEM careers, and to perform better on standardized math tests.

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