Kentucky Community Comes Together to Welcome New Refugees
Since its beginning in 2010, The International Center of Owensboro has served "over 10,000 refugees, victims of human trafficking, and immigrants from 30 countries around the world." Most recently 200 Afghan refugees have resettled to start a new safe home right here in Owensboro, Kentucky.
These folks from other countries who find themselves here in America are coming from horrible situations across the world. Social unrest, refugee camps, war, genocide, and human trafficking are the only realities some have ever known. They arrive most of the time not ever having seen a doctor or even experiencing electricity! Some children don't know a life outside of the refugee camp they have grown up in.
The staff and volunteers from The International Center are with them through the entire relocation process from picking them up at the airport, scheduling medical appointments, helping them find jobs, securing housing, clothes, groceries, and enrolling kiddos in school. Not to mention all of the cultural aspects like learning English, societal norms, law enforcement, and how to navigate the almost impossible bussing system. An "America 101" crash course which as you can imagine, is very overwhelming to our new friends.
In the coming weeks, refugees from Burma, Somalia, Ethiopia, and the Democratic Republic of Congo will be settling in the area after long and exhausting journeys, and the International Center needs our help. Arriving with nothing but the clothes on their backs, they need our help to welcome them to their new homes. If you feel led to do so, here is a list of their current needs:
Couches & Love Seats
Kitchen Tables and Chairs
Dressers or Storage type furniture
Washers and Dryers
Pack and plays
Baby Items (cribs), strollers, diapers & wipes
NEW bedding for twin and full mattresses
They are not accepting clothing at this time. However, they could use toiletry and hygiene items, combs & brushes, sanitary items, toilet paper, paper towels, and cleaning /laundry supplies. They are also in need of volunteers to help move people into their homes. Recently, a group from First Presbyterian Church took on the task of preparing a space for a family.
While it is common for immigrants to move from the community in which they first arrive, the staff at the International Center says they are noticing a trend of our new neighbors committing to stay here and make their way in the world. I think this says a lot about our community that they would want to put down their roots here of all places in the United States. Let's continue to show them the love and kindness they have experienced so far.
If you’d like to donate, assist with household setup, or volunteer in other areas, please reach out to the Youth and Family Services Coordinator, Laura Jones (email@example.com or 270-316-8952)