Saw and Thang

We talked to our good friends at Catholic CharitiesWorld Relief, NICE, TIRRC, CRIT, TOR, Legacy Mission Village, Siloam, NALC, and the Nashville Public Library to see how Nashvillians can step up and help refugees in this time of need. Here’s what they had to say.

1) Volunteer

Resettlement and refugee service agencies are always looking for innovative ways to best serve their clients. We all have skills, from graphic design to searching through craigslist, that are invaluable to refugee integration. If you want to see how your skill or passion fits in with an organization, email an agency to see how you can be plugged in. Additionally, dedicated volunteers are always in high demand to teach ESL or befriend a newly arrived family.

2) Support existing programs

Dig through agencies’ websites to find a need that speaks to you. Maybe you’ll choose to donate welcome packages to the Nashville International Center for Empowerment (NICE), or you’ll become an Employer Partner through World Relief’s REACH program, where your workplace can help a highly educated refugee succeed.

3) Advocate

State legislators are proposing some of the harshest anti-refugee legislation in the country while our Members of Congress have already begun casting their votes to stop refugee resettlement. Do two things: follow the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition (TIRRC) to stay up to date on proposed legislation and call your representatives today!

4) Leverage your networks

Encourage your musician friends to host a fundraising concert, or suggest that your faith group hold a coat drive. Choose to hold this year’s holiday party at one of the many outstanding New American-owned restaurants in town. Be sure to share facts from reputable sources like the Tennessee Office for Refugees and Migration Policy Institute along the way.

5) Be a Tennessean

We are the volunteer state after all. We pull together in times of crisis and meet each others’ needs. Nashville has been called the nation’s friendliest city, and we’ve openly welcomed refugees for decades. Now is the time to uphold these values.