Over 80 million displaced persons in the world. Ansche Chesed is acting.
We are Ansche Chesed, People of Lovingkindness, and believe that we can truly Welcome the Stranger by becoming a Community Sponsor, and helping refugee families resettle in NYC.
We need your help
PLEASE – VOLUNTEER AND BECOME AN ACTIVE PART OF THIS PROJECT
Why is Ansche Chesed undertaking this project?
Hachnasat Orchim, the mitzvah of Welcoming Guests, is an essential part of our teaching and we can put theory into practice.
Thousands of refugees arrive in the US each year. Resettlement agencies provide the basics and administer government assistance but require Community Sponsors to find and furnish housing and help refugees adapt to life in the US. Small groups of volunteers join together as Community Sponsors to make this work.
Since our start in late 2021 Ansche Chesed Refugee Assistance has assisted three family groups create new homes in NYC. We found and furnished their new homes and assisted with everything from school registration to job searches. We’ve provided ongoing support while developing wonderful relationships. We’ve tried to provide the hospitality we learned from Abraham.
Working with a new family. During the first quarter of 2023 we hope to begin working with a new family and hope that you will join us in the project.
“You too must befriend the stranger, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt” (Deut.10:19)
Helping newly arrived refugees
Little Shop of Kindness, 12 West 40th Street, opposite Bryant Park, distributes clothing and supplies to those in need. You can donate clothing and volunteer to work at this wonderful shop. This article in Gothamist provides a good description of the operation.
They currently need summer clothes and other items for men and women. Please see donation information at: https://www.ttlcnyc.org/donate. Sign Up to volunteer at the Little Shop of Kindness. M-F at 12 West 40th St. Sorters and personal shoppers (especially Spanish speakers) needed regularly.
One45Harlem4All Community Outreach Center needs volunteers. This important community center has been overwhelmed with people needing help. Volunteers assist with benefit applications, school enrollment, and shelter mistreatment advocacy. Volunteers with Arabic, French, Spanish, Wolof, or Georgian language skills are required. The center will provide training but requests that volunteers bring their own laptops or tablets.
Adama Bah, who manages this center has been at the forefront greeting and assisting refugees arriving in NYC. Please contact Adama Bah firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Join us in this project
For more info or to get involved, email ACRA1928@gmail.com
Frequently Asked Questions
Community Sponsorship is a local solution to the global refugee crisis. It relies on harnessing the power of grassroots communities to resettle, assist and advocate for refugees.
Community Sponsorship is a public/private partnership between Resettlement Agencies and local faith and civic groups that effectively extends support for resettling refugees and increases their chances of successful integration and independence within their placed communities.
The Community Sponsorship Model improves on the long-term humanitarian tradition of welcoming in this country. It addresses gaps in our 40-year-old resettlement program. Under the existing U.S. Resettlement Program, refugees receive 90 days of government support which is managed through the Resettlement Agencies. After the first three months, refugees are left with little support, and often limited opportunities for community integration.
However, when neighbors come together as trained Community Sponsors to build scaffolding around resettling families, refugees are more likely to thrive in dignity and safety, integrate into the community, and find success as new Americans.
Because we truly want to be Ansche Chesed – People of Loving Kindness – and we believe in our mandate to Welcome the Stranger. Our community contains the resources needed to help families resettle in our city and can effectively fill a needed role in refugee resettlement.
We also believe that both as a community and as individuals we will learn from this process of direct engagement, creative thinking, and ethically-based responsibility as we reach across cultural divides to work with real human beings in need and help families different from – and also so like – our own.
Yes, certainly. We can donate to many organizations on the local and national level that assist refugees. We can and should advocate on their behalf with our elected officials. We can run food, clothing and furniture drives and direct these resources to local distribution agencies. These are all valid ways to help. However, we believe that actively supporting a single family is our community’s best interpretation of the command to Welcome the Stranger.
After families are approved, they are assigned to one of nine resettlement agencies who take responsibility for their case. These agencies work with community sponsors like Ansche Chesed based on the needs of the family. ACRA has worked with HIAS, IRC, and Catholic Charities. In the future it may also be possible for groups like ours to directly sponsor arriving families through the new Welcome US program.
Each project has been a bit different. We have located, and prepared apartments prior to the family’s arrival. Our work has included helping access government services, enrolling in school and ESOL programs, and assisting from everything from navigating the subway to helping with job searches. Throughout, we’ve sought to provide the hospitality we learned from Abraham.
Most of all, this project needs savvy, compassionate New Yorkers with a little time and the motivation to help. Your common sense and life experience will be invaluable to this project.
Through the wonderful generosity of the Ansche Chesed community we have been able to raise sufficient funds to carry us through most of our current needs. Because all the families we have assisted were able to find work reasonably quickly, our expenses have been below our budget. Through the end of 2022 we had spent roughly $38,000 of donated funds.
The families we’re working with live in the Bronx and Queens. In the future we hope that we will be able to find housing in a neighborhood with familiar faces, near people from their own country or community. We will target our search in areas where shops and community organizations reflect the family’s background.
Yes! This is our biggest challenge. But a challenge, not an impossibility.
Do you know someone who might help? Can you assist in this search?
Yes, but it is seldom sufficient. Each family member receives a onetime stipend upon arrival and is entitled to Medicaid, SNAP and other benefits depending on circumstances. However, until family members are employed there is invariably a shortfall.
Only some of our volunteers actually interact with the family; others will do behind-the-scenes work. If you are concerned about interacting with arriving families there is absolutely no need to do so and there are still many ways to be involved.
US-bound refugees are not required to receive vaccinations before arrival in the United States. Therefore, many may not be fully up to date with (ACIP)-recommended immunizations at arrival. However, most new arrivals receive some age-appropriate vaccinations through the overseas Vaccination Program for US-Bound Refugees.
We require that volunteers who meet directly with the family or attend an in-person meeting to be vaccinated.
Volunteer and join with other Ansche Chesed members working on the many aspects of this project.