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10 Ways to Help Refugees in Washington

The United States has a long history of welcoming the most vulnerable people to rebuild their lives in America. Let us now live up to that tradition and meet all our neighbors with kindness and compassion. Now, more than ever, refugee families need to feel they are welcomed and valued as they work to rebuild their lives and contribute to our shared community. Follow the Biswa family’s first 30 days in Seattle to learn more about what the process of rebuilding looks like.

Bhutanese Family Portrait
The Biswa family arrived in Washington last summer, after living nearly 25 years as refugees. Birkha Biswa (left) hopes for his daughters: "To be well-educated, to have a decent job, and to not face any misery." Photo: Amos Kallen/IRC

Support from community members and your dedication to the IRC's mission is critical to the future of our work. For more than 40 years, the IRC in Seattle has helped thousands of refugees, immigrants, and survivors of human trafficking restart their lives in Washington State. Please help us continue these efforts, and join us as we endeavor to make refugees welcome for another 40 years.


Here are ways to take action today:

Donate  Make a one-time or monthly tax-deductible gift via our website. Or, launch your own fundraising page via Crowdrise. Your contributions directly support local IRC programs, helping refugees become independent and involved members of our community. 

Participate  Join IRC at community events throughout the year, such as Winter Welcome Festival, Flavors of the IRC, World Refugee Day - ARTvocacy, and the Rebuilding Lives Annual Dinner. Events raise critical resources to support newcomers and visibly reassure refugee families that Washington welcomes them. 

Advocate  Call on policy makers to support refugees and resettlement. Please email, call, or write your elected officials with a message of support today. Sign up for the IRC in Seattle's advocacy email list for information and alerts on local advocacy efforts.

Spread the Word  Stay connected via our newsletter, Facebook and Twitter, and ask others to do the same! #RefugeesWelcome #ChooseHumanity

Educate  With knowledge of refugee issues, you can help dispel misunderstanding about refugees within your own community by engaging in conversation and posting on social media or anywhere you see an opportunity to give accurate information. Resources to get you started include:

Assemble a Donation Drive  Team up with friends, family, or colleagues to collect essential items - household goods, kitchenware, school supplies, job readiness kits, or gift cards - for newly-arrived families. Click here for current donation needs.

Volunteer  Volunteers are integral to the IRC's work in Seattle. Visit our volunteer page to learn about the different ways to get involved. Please VolunteerSEA [at] Rescue.org (inquire directly) for group service opportunities, internships, or "on-call" volunteer support; or attend a Volunteer Orientation to join as a long-term volunteer. 

Join GenR  Are you a student or young professional with enthusiasm for awareness-raising, community outreach, and fundraising? Seattle [at] Rescue.org (subject: GenR%20Seattle%20information) (Join GenR) - a committee of young adults who support the IRC in Seattle’s work!

Employ Refugees  Refugees are eager to find work and integrate into their new community. The IRC’s employment services helps prepare refugees for Seattle’s job market and secure employment locally. Seattle [at] Rescue.org (subject: employment%20opportunities%20for%20refugees) (Contact the IRC) if interested in offering employment opportunities to newly-arrived refugees. Read more about the business community’s support of resettled refugees at Partnerships for Refugees.

Connect IRC to Affordable Housing Options  We have received many offerings from community members to house newly arriving refugees in their homes. While we are deeply grateful, the IRC arranges for refugee families to rent their own apartments or houses as we feel it is a more sustainable solution. We greatly appreciate information on, or connections to, local affordable housing options or transitional housing solutions.

To learn more about any of these opportunities, email us at Seattle [at] Rescue.org () or call 206-623-2105