Things are rapidly changing with the spread of COVID-19 and I wanted to send a quick update on some of the things we’re doing at Refugee Empowerment Center to serve refugees in our community during this time. Staff are working from home, but if you know of a refugee family in need, please give us a call right away.
Here are a few things we’re doing during this time:
- Communicating about the virus: We’ve followed up with the roughly 50 families who have arrived in 2019 and 2020 to make sure they understand COVID-19 precautions and are still financially self-sufficient.
- Helping with employment: We continue to help refugees find and upgrade their jobs, and provide extended case management for refugees with unique challenges.
- Assistance with Internet access: One of our caseworkers, Mary Hei, is now the point person for all non-profits in the area who serve refugees that need help applying for reduced-cost Internet.
- Coordinating and disseminating information: We’re having virtual meetings regularly with other nonprofits in town. We’re compiling information and efforts in this public document.
- Identifying creative ways to continue to help teach refugee English: We had a call with the other English language programs this week to identify how we can collaborate to continue English language opportunities. Currently, all English classes are closed. REC has a large group of people that are willing to volunteer, so we’re developing processes and online training for people to become virtual 1-on-1 English tutors. This is a new program. We will announce in the coming weeks on how to take this training and become a virtual English tutor volunteer.
Many of you have generously asked how you can help REC and refugees during this outbreak. We appreciate all of you reaching out to us. Here are a few updates:
- Project Refuge, our handmade candles by refugees, has been a great success thanks to huge community support. Candle sales have been impacted by COVID-19 and our limited ability to be able to approach new customers. Please consider becoming a monthly recurring donor with Project Refuge to help offset some of the loss of sales.
- There are many bright things on the horizon for REC. One of the quickest ways to stay in touch with what we are doing daily is to follow us on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
We appreciate the support of the community and know that we will all make it through this crisis together. Stay safe. Stay healthy.
Amanda Kohler, Executive Director