Serve in the Chicago Area
Refugees need to know they are not alone! A volunteer can make a profound difference in the life of a refugee.
A refugee’s fleeing is sudden and unplanned. In order to save their lives, they leave behind family, friends, homes, belongings, jobs and everything that is familiar. Refugees start their lives over in the U.S. with next to nothing and face the difficult challenge of learning a new culture and language. What’s more, refugees’ deepest wounds are often emotional. Even after reaching safety in the U.S., many refugees still struggle with fear and loneliness. They need welcome, friendship and a place to belong.
Volunteers provide needed supplies to turn empty apartments into livable homes for newly arriving families. They help refugees practice English and introduce them to their new community. But most of all, volunteers help ease the loneliness and isolation experienced by so many refugees.
Provide a Pack
When refugees arrive in the U.S., they only have what they can carry. While refugees receive three months of help through a resettlement agency, starting over from scratch is daunting, both financially and emotionally. Through these Pack programs, volunteers can make a huge difference by providing essential supplies, food, and most especially, a warm welcome.
Turn an empty apartment into a home by collecting and delivering basic household items for the kitchen, bath and bedroom (see the list). You’ll meet a refugee individual or family on the day they arrive in the U.S. and personally welcome them with the essentials.
You can meet a newly arrived refugee family and deliver a care pack of culturally appropriate foods that offer a comforting taste of home (see the list). Collect a range of produce, meats, and staple foods and deliver them within a week of the refugee family’s arrival.
Refugee families don’t have their normal community of family and friends around them to help welcome a new baby. You can bless refugees by collecting and/or delivering much needed items such as clothing, blankets, bottles, diapers and baby wipes to families that are expecting a new arrival. (See the list.)
You can help to provide a refugee family with useful household supplies as they rebuild their lives in the U.S. Delivered by volunteers, these essentials provide families with extra support along with a neighborly visit that blesses refugees and volunteers alike (See the list).
Welcome to America! Packs are delivered to refugees arriving in the City of Chicago (typically Rogers Park and West Ridge neighborhoods).
All other Packs are delivered to refugees living in DuPage County or the City of Chicago.
Become a New Neighbor
When you become a New Neighbor, you are helping to ease the loneliness and isolation that many refugees experience when moving to a new country. These programs work to address cultural hurdles such as language, academics and citizenship, but also pave the way for beautiful, mutual friendships.
All New Neighbor opportunities are in Chicago or DuPage County.
Engaging with Refugees: Cross-Cultural Training is provided before becoming a New Neighbor.
Heidi’s House, a gathering place for refugees and volunteers, is now open in Wheaton, Illinois! Heidi’s House provides space for church groups, families, or individuals to volunteer together.
Whether you want to serve monthly as a homework helper, or host a weekly conversation group, there are many ways to connect with refugee neighbors. Contact Katja Jablonski, program manager, at email@example.com to learn more!
There are many ways to walk alongside refugees, and volunteers bring unique visions and skillsets that go beyond the options above.
Custom service activities and events can be created especially for you! Connect with us today to start a conversation.