Congregation Agudat Achim

Refugee Assistance as Individuals and as a Congregation

Refugee Assistance as Individuals and a Congregation

In a matter of months, the heartbreaking news coming from Ukraine has pushed to the backburner the tragic news from Afghanistan. Soon, Ukrainian refugees will come to the Capital Region where they will join Afghan refugees and less reported refugees from other lands including Burma and Democratic Republic of Congo. This influx places an added burden on already burdened refugee assistance organizations in our region.

How can you help refugees in the Capital Region?* Here are high-need options.

During their first 90 days, refugees’ resettlement assistance is organized by the Albany field office of the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI). They need you to:

    • Purchase items from the USCRI Amazon wish list such as household items, cleaning supplies, and utility carts for new arrivals, who typically walk to the grocery store and laundromat.
    • Purchase gift cards for Walmart or grocery store that can be sent to USCRI at 99 Pine St, Suite 101, Albany, NY 12206, Attn: New Arrivals.
  • After refugees’ first 90 days, organizations like Refugee and Immigrant Support Services of Emmaus (RISSE) pick up and help meet long-term assistance. RISSE helps refugees to learn English, provide childcare, find jobs, fill out forms, read mail, connect with local services and government agencies after USCRI help ends.
    • RISSE’s biggest need right now is raising funds to hire extra teachers for childcare and English-language training, upgrade classrooms, and hire more staff for casework. Childcare helps children learn English and adjust to life in the US. RISSE also teaches the adults to read, write, and speak English in three levels of classes. To make a PayPal donation go to their website http://www.risse-albany.org/home/; or send a check to 715 Morris Street, Albany, NY 12208.
    • RISSE welcomes volunteers to tutor in adult English, citizenship classes, volunteer in the Afterschool program, and serve as a Family Helper. To volunteer go toVolunteer@risse-albany.org

*To donate to Ukrainian refugee assistance in Europe, you might start with the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society (HIAS) https://www.hias.org/.