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Delivering cheer in the New Year

Happy New Year from the IRC in Los Angeles! Thanks to the support of community members and donors, the IRC was able to spread a little extra cheer this year.

One of the families very clearly enjoying their new gifts! Photo: Carly Boos

With the help of donors, the IRC was able to fulfill the wishlists of over 57 asylum seeking children and refugee families this holiday season. Items on the wish lists included bikes, scooters, gift cards, winter coats, shoes, roller skates, and books. Recipients of the gifts came from IRC’s Unaccompanied Children, which helps minors who have come to the US by themselves seeking aslyum, as well as refugees in our resettlement program. This year, most of the children and families came from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Afghanistan.

Donors were able to sign up and purchase gifts from personalized wishlists curated by the receiving families. The gifts were then dropped off or shipped directly to the IRC, where staff then delivered them to families over the holidays.

Recently arrived refugees and asylum seekers have been especially impacted financially by the pandemic. Many are struggling to afford basic items and gifts for their children during the holiday season. One of the unaccompanied minor's family member stated that she felt “so bad because [she] didn’t know if [she] could afford Christmas this year”, yet her child was understanding and replied “it is more than enough for me to receive something from [the International Rescue Committee]”. 

Even with social distancing, IRC continues to safely preserve a sense of community and support by facilitating programs that will directly help refugees and asylum seekers. A mother in IRC’s UC program stated "gracias por los regalos para mi hija ella muy feliz”, thank you for the gifts for my daughter, she is very happy, upon receiving the donations. 

Thank you so much to all the donors and staff at IRC for bringing the holiday joy to families of refugees and asylum seekers in Los Angeles! Even though the holidays are over, if you would still like to support refugees with essential items or gift cards, please contact Carly.Boos [at] rescue.org.

Author: Summer Rose Ly, IRC Community Relations Intern