Over the past three months, we have had the honor of supporting nearly 500 refugees in Oregon. As we enter into spring, we are filled with gratitude for what has already transpired, and anticipation for what is to come.
Last fall, we saw a large number of arrivals from Afghanistan. This year so far, we have already come alongside more than one hundred households through relational programs, restart kits and ongoing support. In addition, we have continued supporting both existing families and new arrivals from countries all across the world, including most prominently Ukraine, Iraq, and the Democratic Republic of Congo
Together in this first quarter of 2022, we have already:
• Paired 28 refugee households with family mentor volunteers, who are providing help navigating life in Oregon, English language learning, job assistance, and ongoing support and friendship.
• Enrolled 13 refugee youth in our year-long Youth Mentorship program.
• Distributed 620 restart kits to 111 households.
• Met numerous additional needs through gift cards, laptops, furniture donations, and emergency relief.
We are continually inspired and energized by the stories happening here in our city. Last month, the parents of a newly arrived family of five from Afghanistan were in the hospital as the mother gave birth to a new baby. Their family mentor team set up their apartment with furniture, beautiful rugs, and baby items for their newborn. Meanwhile, six older children from Sudan were provided backpacks and essential school supplies, and will soon be connected with youth mentors to walk alongside them as they learn to navigate an entirely new chapter in their lives. A family of eight from Ukraine was welcomed with pots and pans, comforters and pillows, and other small but essential items needed to create a sense of home. Afghan mothers received laptops so that they could join their peers in a virtual support group and find their footing in a new city, and a youth mentor who was paired with a teenager from Burma is already helping plan college tours for this summer.
These are just a few small glimpses of what this work means. Every restart kit and winter coat distributed to a newly arriving family, every grocery gift card and laptop, every volunteer growing in friendship and community with a refugee neighbor, and every meal that is shared is a picture of not only the transformative power of a collective effort, but a tangible expression of the hope found in creating home for our newest neighbors.
We are encouraged by the incredible generosity of this community, and are honored to have a role in so many stories that are unfolding in Portland and beyond.