‘Strangers No More’ event encourages students to help refugees

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The BYU chapter of the Phi Kappa Phi honor society partnered with Y-Serve to host “Strangers No More,” a student service night in the Wilkinson Center on Wednesday, Nov. 16. The event was a combination of service projects to benefit refugees both in Utah County and around the world.

Keron Blackford is a humanitarian worker from Jamaica. He works with refugees in Tijuana, Mexico. Blackford said Tijuana has become a hub for refugees fleeing more than 24 countries.

“Refugees are impacted psychologically, emotionally, physically and spiritually,” Blackford said. “These people are risking everything for a better life.”

The room was packed with students eager to do their part in solving the global refugee crisis. Students assembled hygiene kits in a partnership with Youth Making a Difference (YMAD). The completed hygiene kits will be sent to India.

Participants also sanded and applied sealant to toy cars provided by Tiny Tim’s toys. Tiny Tim’s is an organization in South Jordan. The organization makes wooden toy cars to give to children in developing nations. The cars will be sent to children in Zimbabwe.

People who attended also wrote letters to refugees arriving in Utah.

James Barnes is the Y-Serve program director for Service to the World, a program that “coordinates with various Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) to provide humanitarian needs and supplies and distribute them globally,” according to the Y-Serve website.

Barnes offered service suggestions for students who wanted to help refugees after the night’s event.

“Come to the Y-Serve office,” Barnes said. “There’s lots of organizations whose main focus is to help the refugees here in this area.”

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