Tuesday is Valentine’s Day. For many limited English proficiency refugees and immigrants, this is a new holiday that they have not experienced in their countries of origin. This is a great day to show your love by doing something for refugees. Check out some of the things you can do below:
1. Restoring Family Links
One of my favorite programs is the Red Cross’s Restoring Family Links program. This program makes my heart melt, as families that are separated due to natural or man made disasters are reunited the program. It works through a partnership between the American Red Cross, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), and the Red Cross and Red Crescent partners around the world. They help families reunite or can send simple messages to individuals.
How can you help? Share the program link and videos with everyone you know. The system works through knowledge. A family can only be reunited if they have entered into the system.
2. A Little Something
A Little Something is a cooperative created by refugee women living in Metro Denver. These women sell homemade crafts, including beautiful jewelry, and in the process, build community, learn new skills, and feel empowered by their earnings.
How can you help? You can support them by donating to their fundraiser, which will help them grow, or you can buy one of their items as a gift for your valentine. Check out when their next sale will be!
3. Denver 2-1-1
I am absolutely in love with this idea, and I think this is a totally worthwhile cause to donate to: Denver 211, supported by the Mile High United Way. (Or you can check out the national site here). 2-1-1 is a free and confidential service that you can call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week when you are in need of a local resource.
Their resources include housing & utilities, crisis & emergency, disaster assistance, food, health, human trafficking, jobs & support, reentry, and veterans and more depending on your local version. They provide assistance in dozens of languages too!
How can you help? Go to their national page, search your zip code, and share the local website on social media. The more people who know, the more people that can be served.
4. The Spring Cafe
The Spring Cafe is a program of Spring Institute. The cafe employs and trains refugees in the customer service industry, thereby giving them an entry in the workforce. They also sell artwork by artists who are refugees, highlight the plight of refugees, or who are minority groups.
How can you help? Attend one of their cultural events, or buy a cup of coffee. They are nonprofit, so all profits support their mission.
5. Safari Thrift Store
Safari Thrift Store, located at 6th and Peoria, is a social enterprise of ACC. The partnership provides support to refugees in a variety of ways: donated goods furnish newly-arrived refugees’ apartments, handmade products from our sewing program We Made This are sold with profits going to refugee artisans, and the store is used as a hands-on training environment for refugees, focusing on janitorial, cashiering and customer service skills.
Safari Thrift also benefits the greater Denver community. Safari sells unique treasures, artwork, home decor and items from across the world. The store gladly accepts donations of gently-used clothes and household goods.
How can you help? Find a treasure to gift to your valentine from their store. All profits support their cause.
6. Clothes to Kids Denver
The mission of Clothes To Kids of Denver is to provide new and quality used clothing to preschool – 12th grade students from low-income or in-crisis families in the Denver Metro Area, free of charge.
How can you help? Donate some old clothes (and buy some new ones for you valentine), make a donation in your valentine’s name, or volunteer together!
7. Denver Craigslist – Free
This one is a bit non-traditional, but if you have spare items that you no longer use, offer them on the Denver Craigslist Free Page. This page is a godsend for low-income and immigrant families, and your free item could make a hell of a difference.
How can you help? Donate your items or offer free delivery for large furniture items.