The images of the evacuation of American citizens and Afghan refugees leading up to the final day on August 31st were heart-wrenching and perhaps overwhelming. You may be thinking, “What possibly can be done to help so many refugees?” and “What can I do to help?”
Fortunately, in the United States, there is an established government process and in Connecticut, there are agencies to assist in the resettlement of the refugees who have already been cleared to come to America.
IRIS (Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services) of New Haven, the agency that FPCNC collaborated with to welcome the Abo Noktah family from Syria in 2016, is preparing to receive 200 – 300 Afghan refugees this fall. IRIS has already welcomed 6 families since the evacuation. In nearby Stamford, SIRS (Stamford Interfaith Refugee Settlement) has offered to settle two families immediately.
Both IRIS and SIRS need immediate assistance to adequately provide for the refugees who will be arriving throughout the fall. Much assistance is needed for these people to achieve independence.
Visit the websites of both groups to decide how you may help: https://irisct.org or https://sirsct.org
Here is what you may choose to do:
- DONATE Money – Housing is the largest cost, with so many arriving at the same time IRIS may have to put some families in temporary housing at hotels.
- SIRS will need volunteers to help with specific tasks, such as Pre-arrival apartment set-up, ESL tutoring & reading and teaching practical English, job search assistance, identifying interpreters (in family’s language) for meetings and appointments, providing rides to appointments and shopping, registering children at school, etc.
- Both groups will need furniture (mattresses must be new) and winter clothing. See their individual websites for how and where to donate these items.
This is just a sample of what is needed. Both websites provide volunteer sign-up sheets, newsletter sign-ups, and a way to donate directly.
The FPCNC Outreach Committee has arranged for volunteers to help in November. Sign up at the Rally Day table, if you would like to assist.