A colleague at one of our partner resettlement agencies recently noted that while this time is difficult and full of unknowns for everyone, it’s especially difficult and fear inducing for clients in our community that have come to our city through refugee resettlement.
Our team at Refugee Care Collective is listening to this wisdom and asking about what it looks like to show up with hope and with presence in the lives of these community members even as we’re stuck at home.
The people that make Refugee Care Collective what it is, people like YOU, are showing up in ways that are blowing us away with gratitude. We’d say that we’re surprised, but we’re not. It’s who you have been for a long time now. So, while we are speechlessly filled with gratitude. We’re not surprised.
You’ve set a high bar when you’ve showed up with kits that you and your community put together and sacrificed to buy goods for. You reminded us that you’d keep showing up when you rallied your faith community or business together to say we’re standing with the vulnerable in our community and pooling our resources together to give time, energy, and resources that go directly to those that need it in their first few months living in the United States. You are the ones that showed up and said we’ll give toward this warehouse to make sure items for newcomers are kept safe and secure to give them on day one. You remind us of the size of your hearts when you’ve shown up with welcome banners and smiling faces at the airport to say, “WELCOME HOME!”
So while we are so thankful, we are not surprised. You have set the bar high for yourselves and we’re working to set the bar just as high as we listen and lean into this work set before us.
Because of your generosity in recent days, we’ve been able to participate in many significant moments…
We’re seeing families in need of cleaning supplies, toilet paper, and with food insecurity, and have been distributing these items to those who need them the most. Bags of non-perishable food, toilet paper dropped off on porches, and disinfectant wipes sent directly to family’s homes.
One of the things we’re seeing in the lives of kids experiencing this crisis of COVID-19 is regression. For a few families, as they weather this storm of fear and regression with their kids, they’re in need of Pull-Ups and mattress covers for their kids that are struggling with big feelings that manifest in ways they wish they didn’t.
Another way we’ve been able to provide for folks is through meeting needs of brand new arrivals that have run out of simple things some of us might have on hand like soap and shampoo. This past week we were able to send boxes of those simple things to a few sisters that were without, along with other families new to our city in such a difficult time. Simple things that we couldn’t otherwise provide without your support make a world of difference for our newest neighbors.
Just as in the greater community, many folks in our resettlement community have lost jobs and with that, the ability to keep up with their utility bills in the long term. While there may be a pause on payments for electricity, it just simply means they’ll owe three times as much in three months when the payment is needing to be collected. You can imagine the relief someone new to our city might feel knowing that someone is helping keep the electricity going for their family without the stress of having to figure out how to pay an exorbitant amount come this summer with no job prospect in sight.
We are SO grateful to partner with you in practicing presence in this unknown moment we’re in. And we’re grateful to every one of you for taking a moment to consider what it might mean to jump in alongside refugee families in the weeks to come.