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Refugees are essential workers in Missoula

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Kasse, who works at St. Patrick Hospital. Photo: Helen Rolston-Clemmer/IRC

"Of course I am worried. Of course I am scared. But it is my job and I love my job and I love Missoula. It is my home." This was the response from Kasse Lumona, an IRC client and employee at St. Patrick Hospital, when asked about working as an essential worker during the coronavirus pandemic.

Many refugees in Missoula are working on the front lines as essential workers during this time. Kasse's wife Tosha works at Community Medical Center while Rita and her mother work at Village Health Care Center. Justin drives a Mountain Line bus, and Ange works at Albertson's. Other refugees in Missoula work as caregivers for adults with disabilities, in daycares so that first responders and other essential workers can go to work, and in food distribution centers and grocery stores all over town. 

Both Rita and her mother work at Village Health Care Center. Photo: Helen Rolston-Clemmer

We at the IRC in Missoula extend our deepest thanks to these refugees and all of the other essential workers out there. We couldn't get through this without you!


During the COVID-19 emergency, newly-arrived refugee families will be disproportionately affected by the impacts on our community. With schools and other essential services closed or limited across Missoula, newly arrived refugee families need our support to access meals distributed by school districts, address childcare needs as parents continue to work, and so much more. Please consider supporting these families by donating to our Emergency Response Fund.

Justin operates a Mountain Line bus in Missoula. Photo: Helen Rolston-Clemmer/IRC