Six Unexpected Items You’ll Find on the Wish Lists of Refugees in Need
Food, clothing, and supplies to meet life’s daily needs are, of course, always important, but here is a list of in-kind items that might not have occurred to you.
According to the U.S. Department of State, the cap for admittance of refugees and asylum seekers to the United States in 2021 has been set at 62,500. As of September, the United States had welcomed 11,411 refugees from 50 countries in 2021. Most of these came from the Democratic Republic of Congo, Syria, Afghanistan, Ukraine, Myanmar, and Sudan.
The resettlement process for refugees in the United States is complex and may take many years to complete. There are several major steps, including the meticulous investigation and verification of refugee status, security clearance, and medical history.
Most refugees have experienced life-changing trauma as citizens of other countries and also during their efforts to escape and seek safe haven. Sadly, a refugee's trauma can be complicated and aggravated by the resettlement process--while they await acceptance into resettlement, their access to employment, shelter, social benefits, and other basic necessities may be limited.
As you might expect, the best and least-complicated way to help refugees meet their daily needs is a monetary donation. As the COVID-19 pandemic extends into another year, cash donations and gift cards have become even more preferred.
However, in-kind assistance will rarely be refused by organizations that assist refugees. Food, clothing, and supplies to meet life's daily needs are, of course, always important, but here is a list of in-kind items that might not have occurred to you.
In the United States, it's difficult to conduct even the simplest business without a cell phone, and it's nearly impossible to get anything done without access to the Internet. Smartphones and laptops in good working order and ready to use (even if they're not new) can be game-changers for a refugee family attempting to negotiate their resettlement process.
While it would be ideal to furnish every person in need with a car, many refugees in the United States have not yet learned to drive, cannot easily acquire a driving permit, or cannot yet afford the expenses of car ownership. Bicycles (for both kids and adults) can be a big help to meet transportation needs.
3. Soccer equipment.
Not many things are as refreshing and healthy as outdoor recreation, and no sport on earth is more universally favored than soccer. Consult the wishlists of refugee support organizations and you'll see soccer balls, shoes, and pads (for both kids and adults) are consistently requested.
4. Pandemic supplies.
When working with those who are experiencing acute hardships, it's easy to forget that, like everyone else, they are in the midst of a pandemic. Along with meeting the basic needs of refugees, remember that they must also keep themselves safe from illness and negotiate pandemic mandates. Disposable masks and hand sanitizer in various container sizes are needed.
This one probably has already occurred to you, but it's difficult to overstate the need for soap and cleanser of all kinds--body soap, shampoo, laundry detergent, and household cleaning supplies will always be welcome as an in-kind donation.
When the plight of refugees is well-publicized, nonprofit organizations often experience great outpourings of generosity. This, however, sometimes leads to an unexpected complication--a shortage of storage space for in-kind donations. If you have unused storage space, a nonprofit near you can likely fill it temporarily with lots of donated goods that are at present rather inconveniently and inefficiently crammed into offices, corridors, or homes.