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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

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 westchesterrefugeetaskforce@gmail.com.


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

GNYC4S:  https://www.facebook.com/groups/GNYC4Syria/

Facebook page: Greater NYC Families for Syria

Integrated Refugees & Immigrant Services (IRIS)

IRIS helps refugees and other displaced people establish new lives, regain hope, and contribute to the vitality of Connecticut's communities.  IRIS accomplishes this in New Haven and 40+ communities throughout Connecticut.  IRIS also promotes it's community co-sponsorship model beyond Connecticut in hopes that many more communities will have the joy of personally welcoming and working with refugees in their home towns.  
Volunteers and organizations in Westchester County are working with IRIS and their refugees in meaningful ways.
Learn more about their programs and how you and your faith group, neighobors, family or civic/social groups can get involved with support of a family or an IRIS program.
Contact:  Ann O'Brien, Director of Community Engagement aobrien@irisct.org

NuDay Syria

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 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NudaySyria/ 

Save the Syrian Children

Save the Syrian Children has the simple mission of saving as many women and children trapped by the war by sending life-saving medical aid to the hardest hit areas of the conflict. Partnering with a vetted network of doctors on the ground, Save the Syrian Children compiles needs lists on an ongoing basis and fulfills these by going factory direct to manufacturers in China or by receiving in-kind donations in the United States. By carving a safe corridor into Syria, goods arrive in the hands of doctors in the provinces of Idlib and Aleppo (Northern Syria) and in Quneitra and Daraa (Southern Syria). Since the first shipment left the port of Shanghai on March 2017, Save the Syrian Children has delivered over 1 million units of medical supplies, totaling over $29 million dollars. Save the Syrian Children is run by volunteers only with zero overhead costs.
Contact: 

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, ahdritzaxel@gmail.com

Stay tuned....More Initiatives Coming in Fall, 2017

For more information, contact info@heartsandhomesforrefugees.com