Starting immediately and until further notice, the IRC in Denver will reduce the number of staff, clients and guests in our office, and will ramp up remote services to clients. Many of our team members are already working remotely, and the remainder of our staff will be fully remote by March 20.
The IRC remains committed to continuing to serve and support refugees, Special Immigrant Visa recipients, survivors of torture, asylees, and other immigrants during this uncertain time. In fact, many families need our support now more than ever – and you can help!
When the first case of the COVID-19 was confirmed in our community, the IRC acted quickly to develop a comprehensive mitigation and response plan which is now well underway. Our top priority is the health and safety of the people we serve, as well as our staff and incredible volunteers and interns. We recognize that the effects of this crisis can be devastating on the people we serve—in terms of health, economic stability, basic needs, overall wellbeing, social isolation, and community integration—and we are pivoting to respond to the best of our ability.
The effects of COVID-19 disproportionately impact the people IRC serves, many of whom live in households with low incomes, have limited English language skills, and lack easy access to the internet and digital devices. We also have many clients who are elderly or have serious health conditions. Others are brand new to the U.S. and not yet equipped with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate our community during normal times.
The majority of the IRC's clients work in industries being hit hardest by COVID-19, including hospitality, food service, manufacturing and distribution, and airports and airlines. Many of our clients have already reported being laid off, and refugees who have just arrived in the U.S. don't have access to much-needed jobs due to hiring freezes. As schools and daycare centers close, families with children are left without childcare and are forced to miss work. Further, most newcomers do not qualify for unemployment benefits due to their limited time working in the U.S.
The IRC in Denver has sprung into action to help clients address these challenges and prepare for the difficult months ahead. Our team is working hard to deliver care packages to clients and ensure that families have accurate information and understand how and why things like hand washing and physical distancing are important to all of us at this time. Our team is also working to support our newest families—including a family of seven that arrived in the U.S. just before resettlement shut down—and make sure they are safe and have access to vital resources and services.
It won't be easy, but with help from you—our supporters and partners—it can be done.
You make our work possible and we appreciate all you do year-round to support newcomers in our community. We continue to need your help to meet the needs of our clients in the weeks and months ahead:
- Donate to the IRC in Denver’s emergency fund. Please help us ensure newcomers have the resources and services they need to get through this trying time. You can make your online donation here.
- Donate much-needed hygiene, health, and food items through our Amazon wish list. Even if items are out of stock and anticipated to ship in the weeks and months to come, we will still be able to use them.
- Donate grocery store gift cards so that the IRC in Denver staff can purchase essential items for clients and give gift cards directly to clients to help them secure their own items including groceries and medicine.
- Target, Walmart, King Soopers, Safeway and Visa gift cards are greatly appreciated. Electronic gift cards can be e-mailed to IRC.Denver [at] Rescue.org.
- Donate all or some of your state income tax refund to the IRC in Denver through ReFUND CO, a project of the Colorado Nonprofit Association and implemented by the Colorado Department of Revenue and the Colorado Secretary of State. Click here to learn more about making a contribution.