Refugee Assistance Update Sept 2021

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Dear Shomrei Friends,

Here are some major items for your careful consideration. We realize there is a lot here, but there is a lot of need.

1) The Westfield Fun Club has informed us that many of the refugee families that both they and Shomrei have been assisting were severely affected by Hurricane Ida. The apartment complex where they live in Elizabeth was badly flooded and many have lost most of their belongings and cars. They have now been displaced and are being housed in temporary shelters and hotels by the Red Cross. The Fun Club is working with the IRC to help them begin the long and difficult process of dealing with FEMA and the state. If you would like to help, please consider making a financial donation to Temple Emanu-El, 756 East Broad Street, Westfield, NJ 07090, and earmark the funds for the Westfield Fun Club. In addition, one family is without any clothes or shoes. If you have the following, please contact the Fun Club at email hidden; JavaScript is required. All clothes should be washed, folded and neatly packed. Please donate like you are giving a family member the clothes. Continue reading

Refugee Assistance: Helping Afghan Families

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We have been researching the best ways to provide support to Afghan families who are being resettled in our region. As a start, we are teaming up with the grass roots organization One World, One Love, which has done amazing work with many refugee families during the past few years. The organization is now starting to help the Special Immigration Visa (SIV) families who are arriving in our area from Afghanistan — 10 families (approximately 50 people) so far, with many more expected to come. They have asked us to help provide the following items for the new homes that are being set up for the families: Continue reading

Refugee Assistance Update: Continuing Our Support

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As we announced in our last update, the Westfield Fun Club, working with the International Rescue Committee, has asked us to “adopt” some refugee families in need of food and household essentials for the summer.  Thanks to the generosity of our community, we have been able to commit to supporting three food-insecure families, at a cost of about $100 a week for eight weeks.  Each of the families is headed by a single mom, and has one or two children.

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Continued Assistance Needed

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The Westfield Fun Club, with whom we have been collaborating over the past few months to deliver food and other essential household items to over 100 refugee families in the Elizabeth area during the pandemic, is winding down their Emergency Food Initiative. (See the email) The Fun Club happily reports that many of the families no longer need the emergency supplies since they have returned to work and/or have seen an increase in SNAP benefits.

However, there are still roughly a dozen refugee and asylum-seeking households – mostly senior citizens – who need our continued assistance. The Fun Club is arranging for these families to be “adopted” by other families or groups who can provide them with weekly deliveries of food and household items.

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Shavuot Nature Wall

CU yellow blossom w orange _ red_ St Barts, Feb 2011-COLLAGE (1)

Celebrate Beautiful Nature on Shavuot!

A Message From Rabbi Greenstein:

There is a wonderful custom of decorating synagogues and homes with flowers and leaves and pictures of nature on the holiday of Shavuot, the festival celebrating our receiving the Torah. While we are still not able to celebrate within the walls of our synagogue, we can create a wall of photos and images of nature’s beauty to enhance our joy.

Thank you to photographers in our community, Judith Antelman, Bruce Baff, Nancy Breslin, Aimee Brooks, Sarita Eisenberg, Aileen Grossberg, Rabbi Richard Hammerman, Laura Monka and Merrill Silver who have submitted their images in honor of Shavuot.

What a beautiful way to welcome our holiday! May we always take to heart the world’s great beauty!

view the gallery

Shomrei Responds to Plea from Westfield Fun Club to Help Refugee Families

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We received an email from the Westfield Fun Club regarding their continuing efforts to assist refugee families in the Elizabeth area (including the families we have been assisting) during the coronavirus pandemic.  As you can imagine, the Fun Club has been inundated with requests for additional assistance, and is now helping 55 families, up from about 20 just two weeks ago. We have found that the Fun Club offers us many valuable ways to help the refugee families that we would not have on our own. The latest example is that they are making regular deliveries of essential food and supplies to the families during this crisis period.

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Refugee Assistant Group Update 3/21/20

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We have reached out to the refugee families that we have been assisting during the past three years to find out how they are faring in the coronavirus crisis. Many have had severe setbacks to what had previously been a slow but steady assimilation to their new lives in the United States.  A number of the men who had jobs as drivers have lost those jobs; one who had a steady job for three years delivering for a restaurant was let go because he had a seasonal cough.  Some of the schoolchildren who had depended on the schools for breakfast are now going without that meal.
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