Ways to get involved
In addtion to creating opportunities to support refugee resettlement, the grass roots movement in Westchester has created access to a variety of ways to advocate for welcoming refugees and to support refugees in our area and beyond.
With the dip in resettlement numbers and while awaiting the Supreme Court's ruling on the refugee ban, some of the organizations formed to welcome refugees have chosen to stay engaged and active in meaningful support of refugees.
"Pelham to Syria Winter Donations Drive"
October 1 - November 5, 2017
Hearts and Homes for Refugees is organizing donations that have been identified as most urgently needed by our partner NuDay Syria whose 'boots on the ground' in Syria provide access and meaningful aid to this war torn country. Donations wil be collected, sorted and packed in Pelham on October 21, 25 and 28 and loaded onto trucks November 4-5 for delivery to an awaiting containter in New Hampshire. On November 12 the container of donations collected throughout New England will be shipped to Syria via Turkey and distributed to refugees in camps and in hospitals as a harsh winter sets in.
For details on donations and volunteer opportunities, go to this link: Pelham to Syria Winter Donations or to this website's page, "Pelham to Syria Winter Container Drive."
Follow updates on the Hearts and Homes for Refugees FB page: Hearts and Homes for Refugees
Ongoing Ways to help refugees
Refugee Family Booster Program
For those refugee families who are no longer in the resettlement program and are working hard to assimilate and maintain independence, there are times when the unexpected happens. The "Booster" program looks to connect these families and their ad hoc needs with volunteers in the welcoming movement who want to simply lend a helping hand. If your own family, church group, co-sponsor or host organization has time and an interest in helping out from time to time, please send an email and ask to add your name to the list. Hearts and Homes for Refugees Family Booster Program
Advocate For Refugees - Why is advocacy important?
It is vital to advocate for refugee resettlement programs to effectively respond to the greatest refugee crisis in human history. Resettlement agencies and refugee organizations were alarmed by the President's proposed ban and budget for the fiscal year of 2018. Not only does it lower the number of refugees allowed into the country, but also cuts funding for the Office of Refugee Resettlement by over 31 percent. These budget cuts and curbs to the number of refugees allowed into the country will only worsen the global humanitarian crisis. This situation requires citizens to speak out and advocate for refugees at the federal, state, and local levels. Our legislators at every level of government need to hear from all of us who believe in the American value of welcoming the stranger. If you are interested in advocacy, please reach out to us on our contact page, connect with us on our Facebook page (Hearts and Homes for Refugees). Westchester Refugee Task Force is focusing on advocacy efforts. Contact
Refugees & Special Immigrant Visas (SIV's)
As of Spring 2017, there were approximately 60,000 Iraqi and 15,000 Afghan interpreters who had applied to resettle in the US, but only 1,437 visas were granted under the SIV Program and USRAP. Iraqi and Afghan translators risked their lives and the lives of their families to assist our troops. As a result, many have been living in hiding and in fear for years while they await their visas. If you or your community is interested in advocating for SIV's, check out No One Left Behind and Veterans for American Ideals. Contact Mary Refling of Westchester Refugee Task Force at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Greater NYC Families for Syria, (GNYC4Syria)
GNYC4Syria remarkably developed from a single Facebook post that turned into a volunteer group of over 2,200 people from the tri-state area who support refugees here and abroad. To learn more about ongoing meaningful volunteer opportunties in support of local refugees as well as the global refugee crisis, we strongly recommend that you join their database of people devoted to aiding refugees on Facebook.
Contact: Amber Lewis, GreaterNYCForSyria@gmail.com, Tel. 847.274.5017
Facebook page: Greater NYC Families for Syria
Integrated Refugees & Immigrant Services (IRIS)
NuDay Syria is a New England-based organization that provides aid to displaced Syrians abroad, with special regards given towards aiding Syrian women and girls amidst the crisis. Communities that choose to partner with them hold local donation drives for goods which are sent to (and actually arrive in) Syria in large containers. Our partners in resettlement, GNYC4S and Neighbors for Refugees, have held NuDay Syria donation drives in Westchester County.
For more information on how your community can conduct a donations drive and fill a container, and for images from past drives and to learn more about visit:
NuDay Syria Website: http://www.nudaysyria.net/home.html
Save the Syrian Children
Students for Refugees (SFR)
SFR is a network of 20 schools (and growing) that has been the dynamic force for tapping into students’ uncanny ability to enact change. Through their three main projects of: Resettlement, Advocacy and Education, and a large fundraising effort to establish a refugee school in Jordan, SFR provides students with a direct path to aid in this humanitarian crisis. SFR is looking to add new student members and to build more chapters in area high schools.
Contact: Axel Ahdritz, email@example.com
For more information, contact firstname.lastname@example.org