There are over 21 million refugees, people who have fled their countries due to war, persecution or a natural disaster. The numbers and the need can feel overwhelming. But we can make a difference – one life, one family at a time.
HFFC supports a volunteer group, Stamford. Stamford Interfaith Refugee Settlement (SIRS), which works with Integrated Refugee Services (IRIS, irisct.org) as a co-sponsor to settle refugee families in Stamford and to help them become self-sufficient. SIRS is responsible for many tasks including
Finding and settling up housing
Securing good healthcare
Enrolling adults in English classes (ESL/ESOL) and children in school and providing homework help
Amy Ewing, a HFFC Steering Committee member, volunteered to be HFFC's member in this interfaith group and has been very involved since early in 2016. In 2018 Amy became SIRS co-lead with Jean Meyer.
SIRS has worked with two families to-date: a Syrian family of six, starting in April 2016, and an Afghani family of three, starting in January 2019 and continuing in 2020.
SIRS's current client had helped the US-led security task force in Afghanistan, so came to the US on a Special Immigrant Visa. He and his family are doing well, but employment continues to be a challenge. Since he cannot find work in his field, finance, he has accepted part-time jobs – one of which he lost due to COVID-19. He continues to contribute to rent, but SIRS needs to pay the balance. The group also hopes to find a donated car, so he can get to better-paying jobs that are not available by bike or public transportation.
HFFC's Social Action Committee decided to contribute to SIRS. In December and January HFFC members donated a total of $510 to SIRS:
$110 from donations collected through tee shirt sales through December;
$100 in matching funds from our limited HFFC treasury; and
$300 from individual HFFC members.
Refugees coming to the US are our newest Americans and are our oldest tradition. If you can donate to SIRS, please go to the HFFC Donation page, and select “Stamford Interfaith Refugee Settlement (SIRS)” as your donation preference.