Garden City shoppers donate big to refugee families


GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) – On Saturday, the International Rescue Committee in Garden City turned to the local community for help in resettling refugee families.

“Every little bit counts,” said Amy Longa, who runs the local IRC office. “It could be as small as something worth a dollar.”

The IRC organized a drive today, encouraging shoppers to pick up an extra item for a refugee family in need.

They were looking for basic household goods.

“In particular we’re looking at things like non-perishable foods,” said Longa. “Like rice, like beans, toiletries, toothpaste, just the basics we need to furnish apartments for new families who are coming in.”

When refugees arrive in the US, they’re given a stipend of about $1000 to start their lives — no more — and most of that can easily be spent on a security deposit and first month’s rent.

The IRC looks for donations from the community to help their newly-arrived neighbors get settled.

Today they were stationed at grocery stores in town giving shoppers lists of needed items.

“We hand them the card and say hey, we’re from the IRC this is what we do,” said Longa. “Buy an item, one or two, for new families and drop them on your way out. And we’re having a great response.”

More than 500 people donated as many as ten items each to the cause, filling up the IRC’s storage room.

“I am touched,” said Longa. “I’m overwhelmed, but not surprised.”

Shoppers also donated a total of about $770 in cash.

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