Ways to Get Involved
Join Us! Individuals, civic groups, Houses of Worship, students, educators, who are committed to supporting refugees join the Westchester Refugee Initiative. Through the WRI we share resources and information, joining forces to strengthen all our efforts. Please sign up for our newsletter, join our Facebook group to stay abreast of activities and news, and attend our biannual WRI meetings. Feel free to share your activities with us and we will be happy to disseminate through the network!
Donate to Support a Newly Arriving Family
Despite the increasing restrictions on refugee resettlement, refugees are arriving to Westchester. Our most urgent need is monetary donations that will enable arriving families to start their new life with the basic necessities such as rent (most critical!), groceries, furniture/household items, medical needs, clothing, transportation and education assistance.
Become a Helping Hands Partner
This program matches a volunteer group with a refugee (or refugee family) in need of short-term (two to three months) support. Support can range from items (furniture, baby supplies, household items, clothing) to transportation, housing or job search assistance.
Lead/Host/Volunteer/Donate to Winter Drive (October)
We are looking now for a co-lead for this drive! We organize the collection and donation of winter clothing and items for 450+ refugees in Westchester and surrounding areas. Volunteer groups from around the county participate.
Lead/Participate in a Drive another time of year
Backpacks & school supplies - August/September
“Spring Showers” umbrella drive
Toiletry Drive for Mother’s Day or Father’s Day
Conduct Postcard/Advocacy Events
Raise awareness and support for increased refugee admissions, Special Immigration Visas (SIVs), and just and compassionate immigration policies. Host postcard-writing and petition-signing events at community events or your congregational gatherings.
Cars for Change
Hearts & Homes for Refugees has facilitated the acquisition of a car for four refugee families. This helps them get to work, attend school, reach medical appointments, etc. If you would consider donating a vehicle or selling a car at a discounted price, let us know! In addition, we are looking for someone to help develop this into a more formalized program.
Host Walk A Mile In My Shoe Event
Your school, church or civic group can host an event that simulates the refugee experience in a refugee camp. There are many event planning resources, among them this one from the Jesuit Refugee Service/USA: https://www.jrsusa.org/resource/walk-a-mile/.
Lead/Attend Summer Cultural Heritage Festivals
Staff advocacy tables at the Westchester Cultural Heritage Festivals, most of which are held in Valhalla at the Kensico Dam Plaza, throughout the summer. Invite attendees to sign postcards and petitions that we send to lawmakers and officials.
Identify/Host Outreach Events in your communities
Host film screenings, author events, professionally-led discussions, etc. These can be done any time of the year or specifically planned for World Refugee Day (June) and during Welcoming Week (September), or organized as part of a National Refugee Shabbat (March) / Refugee Sunday (anytime) event.
Advocate for an SIV family
Provide remote support for the paperwork processing for individual SIV cases, in partnership with Keeping Our Promise-Rochester, who provides training.
Distribute Asylee Information Flyers
Once granted asylum, asylees are entitled to the same benefits as refugees but are unaware or afraid to access them. Distribute flyers prepared by Hearts & Homes for Refugees and Catholic Charities around communities - in churches, laundromats, public spaces, social services offices, etc - to help connect asylees to information.
High School Students….Start a Students for Refugees chapter!
- Join us in the many opportunities to call on elected lawmakers to legislate on behalf of refugees
- Host a postcard advocacy event in your local community - we can provide a toolkit with messages and postcards, you gather your friends and mail the postcards
Raise awareness -Spread the word!
- Be a social media ambassador - join us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter, then help us spread facts and positive messages about refugees by reposting/retweeting
- High school students can organize an experiential refugee simulation at their school - contact us for more information.
Volunteer to help SIVs awaiting approval for a safe haven (More info coming soon!)
To learn more about volunteering, please contact us: email@example.com.