Moving to a new country and getting re-established is a challenging and often overwhelming task. Even immigrants and refugees who have been in the country for awhile, make still be struggling just to survive. You can do many things to help.
Make sure you know what the government and various organizations offer in free assistance. You can save yourself a lot of time and money if you partner with what is already happening.
Check for a refugee assistance agency that will help refugees for their first three months.
Contact your government’s department of public assistance to see what they provide or to whom they can refer you.
The people you are trying to help often know where to go and so their greater need may be because of limited English skills. You can really help by working with them to fill out forms or talk to the people at the various offices.
WIC for pregnant women and children up to age 5
Help for the blind and disabled over 65 (Social security administration–SSI)
Also you can find out about Mutual Assistance Associations where refugees help other refugees
Some individuals and churches collect food from various stores that give away day-old bread and other outdated items. Check for what is already happening in your community. Join in and help or start your own work. Get involved with delivering food items to refugees or inviting people in need to come where they can receive. As you have a chance, make friends with the people, listen to their stories, find out what they really need. Your friendship may be more important than the bread. Pray for them and with them when there is an appropriate opportunity.
(Add Paradise Valley’s story here and Atlanta).
Make sure they have adequate winter clothes, clothing appropriate for schooling and at least one business outfit. Help them know where to find out about sales. Make them aware of certain times when there are significant sales like Black Friday.
(Add Minnesota twin-city wide clothes drive)
Show them where to get food inexpensively. Research your community well, ask other immigrants where they shop for deals, and then pass on the news.
Some churches have started thrift shops. These stores not only provide inexpensive items for people, but create jobs where new arrivals can gain skills and some money.
Grow a garden together or help them find a plot where they can grow vegetables as a family. This has been a significant place for parents and children, along with grandparents to connect with each other. Sometimes huge gaps grow between the generations when they come to a new country. Centuries of knowledge can be lost in one generation. A garden plot can help them remain a close family and keep the wisdom alive.
(Add Jolene and Team’s 43 family garden plots).
(Add Terri and Ko Salee’s story of 25 garden plots)