These last few months have been filled with extending your hospitality and care to our newest neighbors.
Over the last year, we’ve provided support to over 175 Afghan households and over 200 Ukrainian households in Oregon and Southern Washington, as well as a number of families who arrived from countries across the world.
Here’s how a few of our new neighbors have responded to your care:
• “You opened our door and asked if we needed help. This meant everything to us.” –Family of 3 from Afghanistan
• “The mentors are my friends. If I need something, I can call them. They help my family.” –Family of 8 from the Democratic Republic of Congo
• “We feel so grateful to have people come help us learn English. We don’t know anyone in Portland. People are so kind here. They don’t know us but are trying to help us.” –Family of 4 from Afghanistan
• “We will never forget the kindness of this community.” –Family of 4 from Ukraine
These are a few of the many recent stories we’ve been honored to see unfold:
• Mentors recently worked with the father of a large family to fill out job applications, and he’s excited to have been hired by a company just a few blocks from his home. Not only is he able to walk to work, when he gets home, youth mentors arrive to help his children with their math homework.
• We met a family of family of five the day after they arrived to the United States from Syria. As they arrived with very few possessions, we were able to share restart kits, coats, school supplies, and a brand new car seat for their baby. We also paired them with family mentors to provide additional support in the months to come.
• A family of four from Afghanistan who recently had a baby, were paired early on in the mother’s pregnancy with a mentor who came weekly to support her with learning English. This had been a dream of hers! Another mentor who was paired with a young man from Ukraine meet regularly to work on English language skills and share stories over dinner.
We’ve been told by many of our new neighbors that the process of transitioning to life in a new country is often more traumatic than the pain of being displaced. This is why we are so grateful to have a meaningful role on this side of refugee resettlement.
The restart kit you build for a refugee family means more than you know. The care from a volunteer that shows up to a family’s home each week extends further than we realize. The donated winter coat, thoughtful welcome note, smile when first meeting a family, and other small acts that don’t feel significant – all communicate a warmth and kindness that’s needed as families take steps to rebuild their lives.
As we look forward to the new year, we are eager to provide continued support to families we are in relationship with, and look forward to, with your help, extending this care to those who are newly resettled in our community.