New program greets refugees virtually

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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WTVQ) – Usually, Kentucky Refugee Ministries makes families arriving in the United States feel welcome by greeting them.

It provides access to social services, housing and volunteers who help them adjust.

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However, with coronavirus restrictions, it can be hard to make refugees feel welcome when volunteers can’t even greet them in person.

Mary Cobb, Director of Kentucky Refugee Ministries in Lexington, says “there’s still a need for connection on both sides.”

To continue its work, the non-profit is doing what many are, and going digital.

“Helping to adapt to this particular situation that none of us thought we would be facing six months ago – it just makes me admire Kentucky Refugee Ministries even more,” says Bill Glover, a volunteer with Kentucky Refugee Ministries.

The new program, “Welcome, From Home,” encourages volunteers to give refugees the same support they would as if they were meeting in person.

The organization suggests ordering food for the family from an immigrant-owned restaurant and eating the same meal together, but from over the internet.

“It’ll help keep them connected with Kentucky Refugee Ministries, provide that social support, just help keep that connection going during this time that we’re all sort of isolated at home,” says Glover.

Director Mary Cobb says she knows this will all take some getting used to, but it’s worth it.
“I think all of our staff remains so committed because we love what we’re doing,” Cobb says. “We love this work, and we see the benefits of it, both for the clients and for the community as a whole.”

To sign up as a volunteer, visit Kentucky Refugee Ministries’ website.