Caring for our Neighbor
After a long 30 hour flight Jocelyn and her six children arrived in Boise, Idaho from Rwanda in the middle of a winter storm. As the aircraft descended through the steel-grey sky on that Tuesday afternoon, she anxiously peered out the window and saw how the mountains were covered in white. How picturesque it all looked. During her resettlement orientation Jocelyn had heard how her new country becomes very cold in the winter months, but nothing prepared her for the blast of frigid wind that greeted her and her children as they exited the plane. The white snow covering the ground meant outside temperatures had reached freezing levels. The simple sweatshirts and sock-less tennis shoes they all wore did little to shield them from the piercing cold. Watching her children’s lips quiver and their arms shake as they disembarked, Jocelyn wondered how they would be able to survive in this new home of theirs.
Jocelyn’s experience is similar to that of most refugees when they first arrive in Boise in the winter months. It is an experience especially trying for refugees arriving from the tropics or from dry, arid climates where daily temperatures often reach over 100 degrees. Fortunately, as part of the Boise community welcoming tradition, IRC-Boise is able to provide warm winter clothing immediately to refugees upon their landing.
This last Christmas a number of churches, schools, universities, civic and business groups in the Boise Treasure Valley area provided winter clothing to over 200 refugees as part of their “Caring for Our Neighbor” project. IRC-Boise would like to recognize the following groups for their kindness and generosity: Tuscany Ward LDS Church, First Presbyterian Church, Boise First Congregational Church, Cole Christian Elementary School, Rocky Mountain High School, University of Idaho Volunteers Corps, Boise State University Psy Chi Club, Eagle Methodist Church, the LDS Humanitarian Office and Banducci, Woodard & Schwartzman Law Office. In addition many IRC-Boise refugee mentors and other humanitarians in the Boise community declined from receiving Christmas gifts in lieu of having their friends and family donate to refugees instead. This kind of generosity distinguishes the Boise community, truly setting it apart when it come to creating a welcoming social climate for displaced people, and extending a hand of friendship to those beginning a new life here. Yes, at times it does get cold in Boise, but we can proudly say our hearts are always warm.