We are teaming up with two wonderful organizations — Laptop UpCycle and the Westfield Fun Club — to bring recycled laptops to 10 refugee children in Elizabeth. Laptop UpCycle is a Montclair group that is “committed to obtaining, refreshing, and distributing technology to students who need the tools to succeed in school” and has already delivered over 400 laptops to needy students in Montclair. We have introduced Laptop UpCycle to the refugee families through the Fun Club, which runs a Saturday morning program at Temple Emanu-El in Westfield for refugee families in Elizabeth. The Fun Club program includes ESL, job training, resume building, IEP assistance, citizenship test prep, and more for adults, and homework help, arts and crafts, music, karate, acting, games, lego, SAT prep, college application assistance, and more for the children and teens. Laptop UpCycle will be delivering the laptops to the 10 students at a Fun Club session in mid-November.
We will be visiting the refugee families in Elizabeth on Monday and would like to bring them as many needed items as possible at that time. We’ve compiled the requested items on the following list: http://signup.com/go/PGuRfLE. If you can possibly donate any items, please sign up online and drop off the items in the box in Shomrei’s lobby by October 28 if you possibly can.
Shomrei Refugee Assistance Group, August 10 Update
Here are the important announcements for this week:
We are excited to announce that we are now assisting a sixth family in Elizabeth! Our summer camp fundraising resulted in 8 children attending two-week sessions at the YMCAs in Wayne and Elizabeth. We are collecting school supplies for the families we are assisting. On Sept 30, we will be hosting a luncheon in the Sukkah catered by Syrian refugee families.
Our fundraising to help send local refugee children to summer day camp has been a major success! Including the very generous matching grant provided by one of our member-families, we have raised a total of $2,866 so far. The funds are being used to send seven children from two families in Paterson to the Wayne Y and to send one child from the families that we are supporting in Elizabeth to the Y camp in Union. All of the children will be enjoying two weeks of day camp thanks to our group’s fundraising efforts. (See photos of Kresten, below, waiting for her first day of camp to start yesterday.) Any funds in excess of those needed for camp will be used for the general welfare of the refugee families.
Good News #1: One of our member-families has offered to match — DOLLAR FOR DOLLAR — the first $1,500 that is donated to our campaign to help send recently resettled refugee children to summer camp! So, we now need to raise only $1,500 to meet our goal of $3,000! The funds will be used to send refugee children to summer camp at the Wayne Y and Elizabeth Y in August for one or two weeks (depending on the total funds that we raise) .
If you can, please contribute. Any amount would be appreciated. The camp sessions are just around the corner and we need to make payment to the Y by July 25, so time is of the essence.
Summer is here, but the pace of our activities hasn’t slowed.
We have an exciting opportunity to make a difference in the lives of a number of refugee children this summer! GERA (Global Emergency Response and Assistance), a community NGO helping many refugee families in the Paterson/Passaic area, is trying to send 13 refugee children to summer camp at the Wayne Y for two weeks in August. GERA is negotiating a discount for the children, but the total cost for all the children is still likely to be about $3,400, of which they’ve raised about half. (The cost per child for the two weeks ranges from $302-$672, depending on the child’s age.) We are also exploring the possibility of helping to send some children in our refugee families in Elizabeth to summer camp at their local Y, which will probably cost a total of between $500 and $1,000.
So, we’ve set a total goal of $3,000 to help ensure that these children have a fun place to go this summer, to meet new friends, learn a little English, and build self-esteem and confidence in their new country. Continue reading →
Eighty (80!) people attended Shomrei’s Syria Supper Club Sukkot Dinner on October 8. The dinner featured bountiful, delicious vegetarian food prepared in Shomrei’s kitchen by three Syrian cooks who have been recently resettled in the U.S.
Rabbi Greenstein welcomed everyone in the sukkah, and then we moved inside (the weather was threatening) for the meal. It was a win-win event all around; attendees enjoyed a delicious meal and the cooks displayed their cooking talents and earned some income to help support their families. (Almost all of the proceeds of the dinner went to the cooks.) Continue reading →
A few members of our group have begun to develop relationships with two recently resettled Syrian refugee families. Both families are doing well in the United States, but need a few items to help ease their transitions to their new homes.
Editor’s note: The Refugee Committee is a group of Shomrei congregants concerned and involved with the needs of refugees coming to our area. Here is a report of some of the activities some of the committee members are engaged with. If you’d like more information about the Refugee Committee you can join here: shomrei.org/refugee
Here is an update on efforts to help refugees and other immigrants in our area: