This month, Refugee Care Collective is celebrating five years of work and community partnerships. As we look back on these past five years, we have been deeply moved reflecting on all the ways the community has come together in the work of coming alongside refugee families working to rebuild their lives in Portland.
To families whose lives have been marked so heavily by war, division, and loss, the power of our city coming together tells a better story. It communicates to these families that humanity has more to offer than the division and destruction that has marked large parts of their experience. It communicates to them that people see them, that our community cares, and that life has the capacity to hold for them something better. The response of Portland has not only met vital needs for so many refugees, but has sent a message of hope.
In the past five years, we have seen the power and impact of consistent presence firsthand. Together, we have:
• Matched 430 volunteers with families.
• Provided over 17,000 relational volunteer hours of Family & Youth Mentorship and English Tutoring programs in the past year, and over 61,000 relational volunteer hours since September 2015.
• Developed novel programs based on expressed gaps in care in local resettlement, which have since been recognized by the Department of State as “best practices.”
• Assembled and delivered over 2,700 Restart Kits to newly arrived families with a value of $523,000, providing essential items such as bedding, kitchen supplies, and other household items.
• Over $103,000 raised and given directly toward Emergency Relief for refugee families, including emergency housing and COVID-19 support.
• Delivered over 1,460 hand-written Welcome Notes.
• Built active partnerships with all three Oregon refugee resettlement agencies: Lutheran Community Services, Catholic Charities of Oregon, and Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon.
• Mobilized 112 communities of people, including faith communities, businesses, and schools.
• Impacted over 1,825 people through all programs combined, providing tangible support as refugee families rebuild their lives.
At Refugee Care Collective, we have a deep commitment to being a people who do not visit, but a people who stay. A people who do not only welcome, but walk alongside. As much as this month is a celebration, it is not our destination. Our hope is that where we have been today is only prologue – that the best of Portland’s refugee story is yet to come. As we enter this new chapter, we know that it is what comes next that will define the work we have begun.
We are looking to raise $75,000 this month to continue walking with refugee families in the next year.
• MONTHLY SUPPORT: More than anything, we rely on the consistent, ongoing monthly support of the community. Will you consider being present with us over the next 12 months in our work, through a recurring monthly gift?
• ONE-TIME DONATION: We are raising funds to launch our Youth Mentorship Intensive, a program providing wrap-around support for refugee students. Help make this program a reality through a one-time donation.
Five years ago, in September 2015, we could have never imagined the response of the community and where this journey would take us. As we step into September 2020, we step into the space of both remembering where we have been and looking forward towards where we are going. Thank you for your partnership in this work.
May we continue to be a city marked by unity, faithful in our presence, and defined by our love,
Founder & Executive Director, Refugee Care Collective