Many IRC clients are continuing to travel to and from work locations throughout Baltimore during the pandemic, working in essential jobs that cannot be performed remotely.  

Tim and May* are husband and wife and arrived in the U.S. in late 2019. They are Burmese refugees who lived in Malaysia for nine years, where they worked in a restaurant. They were eager to begin working as soon as possible after arriving in Baltimore. With the assistance of IRC staff, they were hired as warehouse associates at Giant Food delivery in March 2020. They have continued to work throughout the pandemic, and are hoping to save money they have earned from this work to purchase a car.  

An IRC client at work in Baltimore.
Photo: Allison Zaucha/IRC

On the other hand, some IRC clients have been laid off from work or seen hours reduced as businesses have been impacted by the crisis. Prisca and her mother Buswaza are refugees from the Democratic Republic of Congo who arrived in Baltimore about a year and a half ago. They were known for their strong work ethic at Hyatt, before the hotel temporarily closed in March due to COVID-19.  

To cover expenses for their family of four, Prisca and Buswaza requested IRC’s assistance in applying for unemployment insurance. “Unemployment insurance is helping us pay for food and for bills like rent and phone. It’s really helping us a lot,” Prisca explained. Prisca and her mother are continuing to work with IRC staff to apply for new jobs, but also hope to be able to return to work at Hyatt in June.  

They are continuing to do everything in their power to stay positive and adjust to this new normal. 

If you or someone you know would like to request services from the IRC, please call 410-327-1885, ext. 111 or fill out this form online. We are usually able to respond to inquiries within 2-3 days.  

If you would like to consider supporting our clients and work during this crisis, we encourage you to consider making a financial donation to our office or purchasing Visa gift cards from our Amazon Wishlist to be sent to clients.