For the past couple of weeks, the International Rescue Committee has been collecting new or lightly used clothing for their warm welcome clothing drive. The winter clothes were distributed to refugees this past Thursday and Friday.
Kevin Favreau, the volunteer coordinator at the International Rescue Commitee, said that, “The winter clothing drive is an opportunity for refugees that have arrived in the last year or so to have access to winter clothing before they face the upcoming Utah winter. A lot of our clients maybe have not even experienced a winter before, so they might not have a jacket or coat for anyone in their family.”
The refugees that the IRC works with come from more than fifteen countries including Burma, Democratic Republic of the Congo, and Afghanistan.
“The drive has been going on for about ten years now, and we’ve helped about three hundred to two hundred individuals every year to get access to winter clothing,” Favreau said.
The IRC is always looking for involvement from the community and more volunteers
around 16,000 dollars worth of winter clothing was collected and each refugee took home about eighty dollars worth.
“We can’t do the work we do without the help of the Salt Lake community. It’s communities, it’s LDS wards, it’s corporate groups, the whole Salt Lake City shows up to support us during these two days.”
When refugees are first resettled to Utah, The IRC helps them find housing in the Salt Lake Valley.
IRC Volunteer, Scott Carter, said, “They deserve more in their lives. They just haven’t been given the opportunity before, so its great to be able to help them out and give them an opportunity to get off on the right foot here.”
“It is our responsibility to help those in need,” volunteer, Crystal Fraught, added.
For more information on upcoming events and how you can get involved, go to RESCUE.ORG/SLC.