Helping Local Refugees

Did you see the recent article in the Register Guard about the new Refugee Resettlement Coalition of Lane county opening up in the Eugene/Springfield area? The new program will provide a way for up to 35 refugees per year to come to Lane County.

Have you talked to your kids about the refugee crisis? Though only four at the time we brought it up, my daughter really understood the importance of helping this community of people. (If you haven't read that post, be sure to check it out here)

Do you want to get involved, but not sure how to help? Read this list of things needed and see if any could be applicable to your family:

1. Volunteer to be on a material donations work group to coordinate the collection of furnishings from community sponsors.  Fine tune process for collecting donations from community groups and from CCSLC website, assess potential storage options.  Bill Rozar (First Congregational) is point person.
2. Volunteer to be on a fundraising work group.  This committee will coordinate with CCSLC to develop fundraising targets, organize fundraisers, solicit funds from community groups, and support community groups own fundraising efforts.  Rev. Bingham Powell (St. Mary’s Episcopal) is point person.

3. Volunteer to be on a Medical/Mental Health work group.  Assess what medical and mental health resources are available in our community, how to best facilitate utilization of these resources, with a focus on the special needs of the refugee population.  Marc Bouvier is point person.
4.  Volunteer to be on an English Learners work group.  Assess best way to utilize resources in community for learning English, including language classes, volunteers, etc.  Indira Bakshi and Colleen Shields will head this work group.
5. Volunteer to be on a welcome wagon kit work group. Reach out to local institutions and businesses for donations, ie free passes/memberships to museums, the YMCA, sporting events, etc., gift certificates to local restaurants, coffee shops, etc.  Collect information about activities to do in Eugene/Springfield.  Sharon Franklin is point person.
6.  Volunteer to be on an Employment work group.  Build on CCSLC employment program to expand networking opportunities for refugees.
7.  Volunteer to organize some sort of celebration for or way to recognize World Refugee Day, June 20.  Please contact Kokouvi Oni ( for more information.
8.  Make an announcement to your community group that CCSLC is looking for low or no cost housing options for refugee families.  The housing needs to provide a separate living space for the family, meet building codes, and be near public transportation.  Contact Lupe Thompson ( for more information.

9. Make an announcement to your community group about the volunteer form on the CCSLC website.
10.  Do you have something to offer that is not listed here or questions about other opportunities?  Please contact Christine Zeller-Powell at

Not local but still want to help? Check out these resources:

1. International Rescue Committee
3. Save the Children 
4. Amnesty International 
5. TIME Magazine: How to Talk to Your Kids about Refugees

What have you done to help with the refugee crisis? Let us know in the comments what you've done and how you've gotten involved!



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