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Refugee resettlement agencies are thankful to volunteers working to help refugees in the United States
Giving Tuesday

How to help refugees in the United States: 10 ways to stand for welcome

Last updated 
Photo: Lily Solmssen/IRC

The United States has a long, proud tradition of giving families fleeing war and persecution a chance to rebuild their lives in safety. 

After refugee arrivals declined by over 85% under the Trump Administration, President Joe Biden began to rebuild the lifesaving and bipartisan U.S.resettlement program, setting a refugee admissions goal of 125,000. He also welcomed Afghans this fall when thousands had to flee their country.

You can help at this critical moment. This Giving Tuesday (November 30), find out all the ways you can join the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to support refugees in your community and around the world:

1. Donate online

The IRC works in over 20 offices in the U.S. and more than 40 countries worldwide to help refugee families survive and rebuild their lives.

Donations help us to continue this critical work. Monthly donations are the best way to help our programs continue uninterrupted, and to ensure our teams can respond to emergencies in the world’s toughest places and stay for as long as we are needed. 

You can also donate to your local IRC office (search for an office in your community here). And don't forget: You may be able to double—or even triple—the impact of your generous donation with a matching gift from your company.

Find your local office here: Abilene, TX | Atlanta, GA | Baltimore, MD | Boise, ID | Charlottesville, VA | Dallas, TX | Denver, CO | Elizabeth, NJ | Los Angeles, CA | Miami, FL | Missoula, MT | New York, NY | Oakland, CA | Phoenix, AZ | Richmond, VA | Sacramento, CA | Salt Lake City, UT | San Diego, CA | San Jose, CA | Seattle, WA | Silver Spring, MD | Tallahassee, FL | Tucson. AZ | Turlock, CA | Wichita,KS 

Two IRC staff members wearing IRC shirts and hats stand next to a car with an open trunk. In the trunk are groceries they recently bought for refugee and immigrant families.

IRC staff in Tucson, Arizona, prepare to deliver emergency care packages to refugee families.

Photo: IRC

2. Donate goods

Some IRC U.S. offices welcome in-kind donations such as household goods, furniture, school supplies and gift cards to support arriving refugees. 

Offices often post wishlists on Amazon.com or other online retailers to make it easy for supporters to send exactly what families need. High priority items for many of the offices include cleaning supplies, toiletries and laptops.

If you are interested in making an in-kind gift or organizing a donation drive, please contact your nearest office to find out about their current needs.

3. Speak out

Although President Biden raised the refugee resettlement ceiling, many asylum seekers who have also fled violence and persecution are being turned away. Among those are Haitians, whose country faces political strife and the near constant onslaught of natural disasters.

Seeking asylum is legal—even during a pandemic. No one should be criminalized or abused simply for exercising this right. Tell President Biden to protect the rights of Haitian asylum seekers.

4. Spread the word

Make your values clear to the world by sharing this post on Facebook, Instagram or on Twitter.

You can also get the facts on refugee resettlement and share with your friends and family.

5. Volunteer

Volunteers are an integral part of the IRC’s work. Some recently posted volunteer positions include group volunteering opportunities in the New Roots community garden in Salt Lake City, donation deliveries in Turlock, CA, and assisting with tax preparation or digital literacy in Dallas, TX. Find IRC volunteer opportunities near you.

If you don’t live in an area with an IRC office and you are a member of an established organization (such as a business, university community, faith group, sports team or local club), you may be able to help welcome refugees by becoming an Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) Community Partner. Working with the IRC, these partners take on responsibilities for resettlement such as securing housing, greeting and welcoming families, providing food and other basic necessities, and connecting refugees to education, English classes and employment. You can learn more here.

6. Fundraise

Let your community know you care—by setting up a Facebook fundraiser. It’s easy: just set a goal and reach out to your networks explaining why supporting refugees, asylum seekers and other displaced people is important to you.

7. Share refugee stories

Refugees and asylum seekers are people with lives we can all recognize. They are mothers and fathers, daughters and sons. They are neighbors, teachers, students, business owners and employees—including the essential workers keeping us safe during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Here are just a few stories to explore and share:

In their own words: Afghan families rebuild their lives in the U.S.

Meet courageous refugee artists

Stories of welcome: Refugees and their fellow Americans share how they have changed one another’s lives

8. Welcome a refugee

Refugees moving to a new city face many challenges and stable housing can be hard to come by. Open your home to refugees in the U.S. in temporary need of shelter through IRC partner Airbnb. If you are a landlord, you can also help by renting to a newly-arrived refugee family. The IRC will assist clients with the leasing process. You can learn more here.

9. Invest in a refugee's future

Refugees are entrepreneurs, consumers and taxpayers, contributing to economic growth and creating jobs. Entrepreneurship among refugees is nearly 50 percent higher than among people born in the U.S.

You can lend your support by frequenting local businesses run by refugees or by employing a refugee in your company and encouraging other businesses to do the same.

Learn about supporting refugees as an IRC corporate partner

10. Stay informed

Sign up for updates from the IRC or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.

Jonathan Amissa, wearing scrubs, stands in front of a van with his hands on a stretcher. The van has a logo for Skyroad Medical Transport, his medical transportation business.

Jonathan Amissa, a refugee from Cameroon who owns a medical transportation business in Boise, Idaho, told the IRC: “I want the world to know that even with the pain and the struggle, and with the obstacles we’ve been through, we can still be part of a community that welcomes us. We are refugees but we also have potential and goals.”

Photo: Angie Smith/IRC

Thank you!

With more than 82 million people worldwide displaced by conflict and crisis, the need to provide refuge is more urgent than ever. All of us at the IRC thank you for your compassion and your commitment to the cause of refugees.

The IRC is consistently awarded high marks by charity watchdog groups for our efficient use of financial support and the effectiveness of our work.