COVID-19 HAS CHANGED THE SERVICES THAT WE PROVIDE, AND HOW WE PROVIDE THEM, BUT OUR COMMITMENT TO HELPING NEW AMERICANS REMAINS UNWAVERING.
In March, Overcomers’ leadership created a comprehensive COVID-19 response plan and assembled a Crisis Response Team. The Crisis Response Team, consisting of staff, board members and volunteers, is working hard to ensure that our New American community members stay healthy and safe, and are able to navigate the many confusing aspects of the coronavirus crisis. We have also hired three translators – all former refugees – to act as liaisons between clients and volunteers throughout the crisis.
In order to keep our clients informed during this state of emergency, we have been consistently collecting important information and translating it into four languages: French, Nepali, Swahili, and Kinyarwanda. That information is then distributed multiple times per week via Overcomers’ website, social media, and a WhatsApp group for clients. We are also sharing our translated resources with other local refugee service organizations.
While health is the number one concern, helping clients secure financial assistance is a close second. Many New Americans work in the service industry for employers who have either closed temporarily or reduced staff. The unemployment application process has been especially difficult for New Americans who are still learning English. We have created a system with volunteers and translators to help clients file their initial claims and weekly updates. So far, the team has been able to help more than 50 clients successfully complete the process and begin receiving weekly benefits.
DISTRIBUTION OF SUPPLIES
Instead of giving clients rides to appointments, we are delivering masks, cleaning supplies and food to New American families in need.
We have been providing these emergency services to local New American community members, whether they were established clients or not.
“We are very aware of how vulnerable the New Americans in our community are during this pandemic,” says Anne Renner, Board President, “so we are stretching our limited resources to help as many as possible.”
We are deeply grateful for the outpouring of support over the past month and a half. Between support from our donors, a grant from the NH Charitable Foundation, our dedicated staff and board, and MANY generous volunteers (without whom we would not be able to do this work), we have been able to respond to this crisis in a variety of ways.
We have made great strides by implementing our emergency response, but the crisis is not over. We need to ensure that that we can sustain these strides throughout the duration of the pandemic.
We also need to start shifting our attention back to our main mission of educating, empowering, and engaging New Americans through our existing programs and new initiatives.
HOW YOU CAN HELP
Donations are still needed and welcome to support Overcomers’ ongoing work, and to offset the unexpected expenses incurred throughout the Covid-19 crisis. Donations are tax deductible and can be made with a credit card online or with a check.
To donate online, please click here. If you are able to, recurring monthly donations provide sustainability and allow us to effectively plan for the future. If you’d like to become a monthly supporter, just select “Make this a monthly donation.”
If you prefer to pay by check, please make it payable to Overcomers Refugee Services, and mail to: 90 Airport Road, Suite 25, Concord, NH 03301.
We are truly grateful for your support.
We are all in this together, and together we will all overcome.
Clement Kigugu, Executive Director
Anne Renner, Board President