Over the past few months, COVID-19 has changed so much about the way our world moves forward in life. What hasn’t changed is Refugee Care Collective’s commitment to welcoming and coming alongside the newest members of our community in any way that we’ve been able. Our mission to listen to and support those in the resettlement community may look different, but it’s far from any kind of ending.
We continue to be a team of people that is always aiming to listen. We’re doing that by gathering virtually and over the phone with caseworkers and resettlement agency representatives. We’re checking-in with community leaders and nonprofit workers to make sure that we’re putting effort towards the needs they are seeing and asking for support in. We’re extending support to volunteers as we are working to keep pathways of support open for them while they continue to build relationships with newcomers in our city in new ways due to stay-at-home orders from our government.
Through generous donations of resources, we’ve been able to share meaningfully with those in our community that have arrived here via resettlement. Diapers and bleach and toothbrushes that folks didn’t have access to or funds due to lost jobs have landed at front doors across East Portland. Sewing machines have been given to newcomers struggling to find something to keep them going while they’re once again trapped in their homes. Gift cards are being shared with families to allow them to choose the foods and items THEY want and need most in ways that honor the humanity and dignity we see in them. Phone calls are made to new neighbors keeping at a safe distance inside. Texts being sent often to remind them that they’re still remembered and worth our time in the midst of unprecedented times. Mattresses and furniture given to a family with three young girls that arrived just before the shutdown took place have served as the best kind of welcome, in an especially unusual time to our new friends finding their footing in their new home.
Big moments and small ones. Moments that we’re working to make sure to tell some of the world’s most courageous and vulnerable that there is still a space for them among the people of Portland. This work will keep happening and relationships will continue to be formed, whether we’re in comfort or in the midst of pandemics. This work will keep happening because the people of the Portland-Metro area continue to show up and say “WELCOME HOME,” with their words, resources, and their lives in countless ways.
We couldn’t do it without you!