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Six ways you can help New Americans today

Posted on December 11, 2017 by Kim Oswalt

If you want to help refugees in St. Louis, volunteer at the International Institute in one of these areas. There’s something for everyone! If you can help in one of these ways, contact Debbie Smith at 314-773-9090 (ext. 182).

1. Babysitting

We need two babysitters from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m. on Thursday, December 14th, for the Family Strengthening Program’s class. We expect five small children.

2. Data Entry

The administration has asked for volunteer help with a special project entering names and contact information provided at the holiday bazaar into an Excel spreadsheet. If you can mouse-click and type, you can do this work.

3. Receiving Adopt-a-Family Donations

We’ll be staffing the gym on Tuesday, December 12 from 4-8 p.m. and Thursday, December 14 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to receive gifts brought by the community for recent refugees. If you can help us with unloading, labeling, and recording donations completed either day, we would appreciate it!

4. Donations Sorting

In the R&P supply room we have quite a few bags of recent donations — in this “most wonderful time of the year,” people’s generosity peaks and we tend to receive the fruits of many donation drives that then see us through the year. Last week one volunteer in particular worked very hard to bring some order to the chaos I had let creep in, and it would be really great to have some help sorting and storing what has recently arrived. We need to stock the room with carefully selected clothing for new arrivals and clients of Workforce Solutions and Social Work, so I have a major reorganization project in mind if anyone is up for helping with that. This work could happen any time you’re free — just let me know when you can come.

5. Apartment Setups

With the Housing Manager working only Mondays through Wednesdays, I do not know for sure how many apartments we’ll be sorting next week’s arrivals into or exactly when we’ll be able to deliver the goods and do the setups. For now, if you can help load the truck and deliver furnishings, grocery shop, and/or set up apartments, please let me know. If you want to come on Monday morning, you will at least be able to help me select and pack the furnishings for the expected families.

6. Lobby Greeter for Wednesdays

Having a volunteer in the second floor lobby is a huge help, especially in the mornings. The role involves greeting people who come upstairs, finding out if they have an appointment and alerting staff if they do, helping them make an appointment if they don’t, and generally being a friendly face and troubleshooter. Ideally we’d have someone from about 8:45 to 1:45 as those are our busiest hours.

 

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