Thursday, March 6, 2014

Home is where the heart is, but a bed wouldn't hurt

When refugees flee their countries due to persecution, conflict or other life-endangering issues, they often arrive in their new home country with little but the clothes on their backs. They receive a small amount of resettlement assistance, but it doesn't stretch very far.

So the Red Cross, Lutheran Family Services and American Furniture Warehouse are partnering together to make life a little easier and more welcoming for these refugees who have settled in a strange new land after what is often already a traumatic experience. Last week, the American Red Cross distributed housewarming baskets to relocated refugees who have settled in the Denver-metro area. The 15 baskets contained what Tim Bothe of American Red Cross Colorado & Wyoming calls “standards of care.” The Red Cross housewarming baskets include kitchen utensils and pots and pans, as well as information on how refugees can reconnect with family members through the Red Cross Restoring Family Links program.

Tina Porter gets the mattresses and
Housewarming baskets ready to go. 

By assembling these baskets, the Red Cross is supplementing the assistance provided by Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains, a refugee resettlement agency that helps families set up a new household in Colorado. The baskets were distributed by Lutheran Family Services, which is summoned at a moment’s notice, given little information about incoming refugees until they arrive in Denver.

American Furniture Warehouses is the third partner in the refugee settlement project. The company has donated 20 mattresses to refugee families through this partnership.

Nearly 2,000 refugees are relocated to Colorado during the average year. Efforts such as housewarming baskets filled with “standards of care” and a donation of mattresses are the gestures that help these people overcome the trauma they've experienced and turn over a new leaf in the Centennial State.

Tina Porter, Red Cross, and Horace of Lutheran Family Services. 

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