Like many non-profit organizations, the IRC in Baltimore set up an Amazon Wish List several years ago to meet the needs of newly arrived refugees.
The list started with basic household items to set up apartments for newly arriving clients – sheets, kitchen utensils, dishes. It has gradually expanded as new needs emerged. Warm blankets make apartments more welcoming in winter months. Vacuums are needed to clean apartments that are carpeted. Sewing machines allow clients to continue using tailoring skills. Folding shopping carts make it easier to walk home from the grocery store.
During the coronavirus pandemic, we encouraged community members to send gift cards from the IRC Wish List as a way to support our clients. It was difficult to receive, process and deliver packages to client homes while working remotely and gift cards were the most flexible way to address emerging needs. To date, we have received over $4,000 in donated gift cards! Amazon sends these cards to the IRC office where staff deliver them directly to clients, providing critical support to buy food, pay phone bills or meet other emergency needs.
The only downside to the Wish List is that we are not always able to find contact information for the senders! Over the holidays we received generous gifts from community members with thoughtful notes about why they chose to support our clients and the IRC’s work through a Wish List purchase. These notes have been very encouraging to staff and the generous gifts provided direct support to clients.
To all of our Wish List donors – a huge thank you for your support!