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Help Welcome 51 Refugee Families

From SOMA Lounge on Facebook:

Hi Loungers – I have been following (and contributing to) the initiative of our local synagogues to help resettle a Syrian refugee family in our community, which has been so inspiring!

I’m reaching out because our Catholic archdiocese will be resettling 51 refugee families (mostly Syrian) in the Newark area in the coming months and they are looking to local communities to come join them in their efforts. I’ve been talking to the person coordinating these efforts – Maria BIancheri – who is eager to hear more from our community. It sounded like they weren’t specifically considering SOMA as a place for resettlement… but I assured her that any refugee family would find a very supportive and welcoming community here!

She is holding an information session on Tuesday, Jan 31 from 6-8:30 at Our Lady of Sorrows church, for anyone interested in helping out. She said the orientation is absolutely open to all, regardless of faith.

She sent me some examples of volunteer opportunities:

– Having a “virtual” housewarming where people bring donated items for a family
– Helping set up the apartment prior to arrival
– Cooking a meal (ethnically appropriate) for their first night of arrival
– Driving a refugee to an appointment (doctors, grocery shopping)
– (For those who speak their language) Accompanying the refugee to an appointment to translate
– Tutoring people (adults / children) – English
– Helping with resume writing / job search / interviewing

She is also very open to hearing new ideas from our community.

Here is Maria’s contact info if you want to get involved but can’t make the info session: 973-596-3985 or .

She is also working on creating an online wish list for items the families will need, and I’ll post the link here when she does (if anyone is interested, and I’ll ask permission from the admins first).

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