IRC Tucson Bi-Annual Donation Fair a Success!
On an unusually gloomy Saturday morning in Arizona, IRC Tucson’s old home stood looking oddly abandoned. All the staff members had packed up their belongings; every file was gone and every phone turned off. But inside, the office was buzzing with life and brimming with free, household items, furniture, and clothing for refugees.
IRC Tucson’s Donation Fair, which turned out to be a last hurrah for the old office, was a huge success! On February 27th, volunteers from the local community joined together to put on one of the biggest free yard sales for refugee families. Transforming the IRC Tucson’s old abandoned office into a department store, organized even by men and women’s apparel, was effortless for the 40 volunteers in attendance.
As refugees patiently waited outside with ticketed numbers, neighborly men and women ushered them inside, assisted them with their selected items and drove them home with their new belongings. “I was surprised by the amount of refugees in Tucson. I thought it was a really interesting experience,” exclaimed one participant.
Another volunteer who greeted newcomers at the entrance shared, “[The best part of my volunteer experience was] meeting a teenage girl and seeing how much she was like my 17 year old, even though she was from across the globe!”
Thanks to the compassion of these volunteers and others from Tucson’s community, over $5,000 worth of valued goods were distributed to refugees. However, the unmeasured value of the event was found in the new friends made across cultures and the crossing of paths between new Americans and old.
Most of us never imagine that a simple gift can create bridges. While many were able to carry off new possessions, it was agreed among refugees and volunteers that there were many gifts exchanged that day … each serving as an agent for hope.
Written by: Brittany Schilling, Development Associate