One way we assist our families is by sharing essential information concerning federal, state, county, and local pandemic relief programs, including emergency rent and utility assistance. We have helped more than a dozen families in applying for unemployment benefits and food benefits and have disseminated information on job opportunities as we find them. We are also delivering food pantry boxes regularly to the homes of 50 families.
Our collective compassion has provided clothing, food, housewares, diapers, computers and more. Your generous gifts of urgently needed items have been amazing! While the Free Store is open by-appointment-only right now, we continue to pack items from within it and deliver to families.
Now we kindly ask those of you in a position to contribute financially, to please consider a cash donation in whatever amount you can afford. Know that a small donation of $5 will mean we can buy toilet paper and soap for a family.
Refugee Community Connection has no overhead -- every cent you donate goes directly to recently arrived refugees in need. Your donation will buy diapers, laundry detergent, feminine pads, TP, soap, winter coats & boots, food, and provide limited rent assistance to stave off eviction.
These people were forced to leave their home countries of Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Myanmar, and others. Making a new life is new country is never easy, but it’s been so much harder this year -- the new families didn't even have time to get jobs before the pandemic hit so they weren’t eligible for Unemployment. Additionally, many of our families have faced serious crisis this year. Several are dealing with illnesses and medical bills, two families had their apartments robbed, and another family with a newborn had a house fire in their apartment building and lost everything (thankfully, no one was hurt).
These are hardworking people who want to provide for their families. They are taking English classes and going to college. The families’ urgent needs for food, cleaning supplies, and toiletries has grown exponentially since most of them have been unable to work. Many are scraping by on food stamps, but food stamps don't pay the rent, don't buy diapers or TP or soap. More than 40 families are behind in rent and have no idea how they'll pay their next months' rent.
Please consider giving what you’re able. It will brighten the lives of our recently arrived community members.
Refugee Community Connection is an all-volunteer community organization that seeks to ease the transition for recently arrived refugees to Chicago, with our focus on Special Immigrant Visa (*"SIV") holders, by providing resources, information, and household necessities through a personal connection with welcoming neighbors. We seek to supplement basic needs not already met by professional refugee resettlement agencies and government services.
Connections and provisions:
We are community members simply aiding our community. Our all-volunteer group strives to ensure that each family has its urgent needs met with basic furniture, beds and bedding, computer, phone, kitchenware and appliances, clothing and footwear, cleaning supplies, bicycles, diapers, toiletries, and food as needed. On average, we welcome two new families a month to Chicago and since our founding have served more than 700 refugees. We also source computers (we have provided computers to a 100+ families), cell phones, and bicycles (60+), as well as emergency relief as needed.
*SIVs are our wartime allies. These are people who worked for years for the US military in Afghanistan or Iraq, putting their lives and their families lives at risk. Many were Interpreters embedded with our troops. After a lengthy vetting process, they qualified for visas for their immediate family to immigrate to the US. Only 10% of those approved actually get their promised visas -- the SIVs that get here are the lucky ones. Once they arrive, they receive limited government assistance for the first 3 months. They are permanent residents. They deserve to be treated as honorary veterans.
Refugee Community Connection is not yet incorporated as 501(c)3 charity, however, we can provide a charitable donation receipt from Tabor Lutheran Church. If you need a donation receipt for tax purposes, please direct message me with your legal name and address, and email. Additionally, if you prefer to donate via check, cash, Paypal, or Venmo, please direct message me.
- Carol Dopke
- Suzanne Meyering
- Alisa Baum
- Susan Sebestyen
- Judy Pollock
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