Widening your circle during the holidays: 4 ways to include refugees
Cara Salazar, content writer
At some point in life, most everyone has felt what it’s like to be the “new person.” For refugees starting new lives in the U.S., this experience can be magnified during the holidays, when separation from family and friends, grief of leaving home, and feelings of isolation can be a daily struggle.
This holiday season, consider how you can include refugees. Here are four ways you can come alongside new neighbors and welcome them with connection, generosity, and support.
1. Shop at refugee-owned businesses or those employing refugees.
The holidays are a great time to shop at businesses employing or owned by refugees. From jewelry or clothing stores to restaurants, get your holiday shopping done while supporting businesses—and making a difference for refugees.
Today, with nearly 9 million unfilled jobs in the U.S., employers are enlarging their talent pool by hiring refugees and reaping the benefits. Refugees bring experience and skills, are loyal employees, and have already passed intense background and security checks. Large international companies and small businesses alike have found refugees to be some of their brightest team members.
2. Invite refugees to share a meal, attend a community event, or talk about their holiday traditions.
Instead of getting wrapped up in the hustle and bustle of the holidays, be mindful of those looking for connection and invite them in. Build community by sharing a meal or attending a local event like a concert or tree lighting. Ask them to tell you about their holiday traditions. Our lives are richer when we connect with others.
3. Co-sponsor a refugee family.
Refugee co-sponsorship is a great way to assist a newly arrived refugee individual or family. During this six-month commitment, groups of about seven to 10 people help refugees by offering core services such as supplying meals, household items, and transportation. They provide necessary financial gifts that assist with things like rent, furniture, and clothing. Co-sponsors often share that they are the ones that have learned and grown, calling it “an amazing experience.”
4. Discover ways to give.
For refugees fleeing danger, the resettlement process can be extremely challenging. Your gift makes an impact and helps guide, advocate for, protect, and support refugees in key resettlement locations around the globe, including the U.S. Click here to learn more.
Volunteering is also an opportunity to serve. With Bethany locations across the U.S., it’s easy to connect with a branch near you to learn how you can serve refugees in your area.