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Become a Winter Welcome Sponsor!

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Winter Welcome, our annual holiday gift drive, offers community members the unique opportunity to fulfill holiday wish lists for recently arrived refugee families and individuals, supporting their efforts to gain control of their future and become an integral part of our community.

IRC volunteers load gifts for delivery to families.

Photo: Daniel Lombardi/IRC

Winter Welcome sponsorships will be available starting in November 2020. For more information, contact Kansas [at] Rescue.org.

As a sponsor, you are given the great responsibility of providing gifts for refugee individuals and families. By working together, we can ensure many newly arrived refugees will receive much-needed household items and other gifts this holiday season as they work toward self-sufficiency. 

To sponsor a refugee family during Winter Welcome, kindly follow these steps:

  1. Read through the Winter Welcome FAQ and decide the number of individuals you or your group would like to sponsor
  2. Sign up at Winter Welcome Sponsor Sign Up
  3. Purchase or gather new or gently used items, unwrapped, to the IRC in Wichita office, using our contactless drop-off procedures by December 11. You will receive more information about the contactless delivery process once you are matched with a refugee family or individual. As we take every precaution to keep families safe during the pandemic, gift cards are a great gift to reduce the spread of the COVID-19 virus.
  4. Donation receipts will be provided to all in-kind donors by the end of January 2021.


Winter Welcome FAQs

How much should I budget per person?

Each refugee family and individual will create a wish list with the help of their caseworker. The sponsor is responsible to fulfill a portion or the entirety of the wish list. Last year, the average amount spent per individual was $50-$100. Sponsors are given a broad list of items on each wishlist; however, the family will prioritize high-need items they hope to receive.

I'd like to donate, but don't think I'll be able to sponsor a family. What should I do?

There are many items the IRC uses to ensure each family receives an equal number of gifts. We encourage donors to purchase gift cards to large chain stores, like Walmart, Dillons, or Target (preferably in amounts between $20 and $50). We are especially supportive of gift cards this year as they are safer due to COVID-19.

In addition to gift cards, we are always in need of items like-new microwaves, vacuums, men's electric razors, laundry detergent, dish soap, paper towels, toilet paper and 12 quart stock pots. 

Looking for an easy way to support our work and the refugees we serve? Purchase an item from our Amazon Wishlist and have it shipped directly to our office. 

Can I donate used items?

This year, we are hoping to collect mostly new items because of COVID-19, though we are able to accept good quality used-items. We use the terms "gently used" or "like-new" to remind people to give items that are still in working condition and aren't showing too much wear. Kindly note, we are unable to accept used clothing and towels. Any gently used electronics should be less than five years old.

We hope that each family or individual will receive new items, but your gently used items are important to us too. Please note, we reserve the right to refuse used items that do not meet our donation standards.

Can my family deliver gifts to the refugee family or individual we sponsor?

For safety and privacy concerns, sponsors will be asked to bring gifts to the IRC in Kansas office. Gifts will be distributed to each family by IRC staff and background-checked IRC volunteers. This year, we can't arrange any meetings between sponsoring families and client families due to safety protocols for COVID-19. When possible, we hope to be able to send sponsors a photo of the family with their gifts.

Will the gifts I purchase for the refugee family or individual go to the specified family?

Yes, all gifts purchased for a specific refugee family will be given to that family. Although, the IRC will distribute additional/duplicate gifts at our discretion.

Since all refugees come from outside the U.S., are there sensitive cultural issues I should be aware of?

For some sponsors, Winter Welcome is something they can do to celebrate the holidays. Like anyone, refugee individuals and families arrive with their own religious and/or cultural beliefs. Some of those beliefs may or may not be shared with donors sponsoring the family through Winter Welcome. Please keep this in mind as you are selecting gifts and sharing messages. You should avoid religious gifts and messages. 

Are the items I donate tax deductible?

Yes. The items you donate through Winter Welcome count as in-kind donations. In our series of communications to all sponsors, we will provide instructions to ensure you receive a tax-deductible receipt by the end of January 2021. However, our advice: save your purchase receipts!

It is critical for our funding purposes that you provide us with copies of purchase receipts from all your purchases. Doing so helps the IRC meet critical reporting requirements and allows us to access funds to help refugees find jobs, stay housed and access transportation. 


Additional questions? Please email us at Kansas [at] Rescue.orgThank you for supporting newly arrived refugees this holiday season!