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Wednesday, 18 March 2020

Volunteers Provide Dignity to Refugees

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Photo from previous donation drive Photo from previous donation drive

“God bless our volunteers,” says Kitty Marquez, Program Supervisor for our Refugee Resettlement program.

“Last night, we had our last refugee land at the airport. When we heard he was in the air we had a moment of panic, how would be find food, toiletries and other supplies for this man,” said Marquez.

While travel from many countries has been suspended, Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program received a refugee, probably the last refugee to come to Phoenix for the foreseeable future.

Marquez and her team regularly shop for refugees entering the United States. They purchase food, hygiene products and other things needed to get started in a new home. During normal times this is a big job, during a global pandemic, it’s almost impossible.

“We haven’t been able to find regular supplies for our families, finding them for clients has been a challenge,” said Marquez. One Catholic Charities team member visited all the local ethnic stores and finally found some rice.

“Thankfully we have donations from students Miracle Projects and local churches that specifically donated hygiene products for refugee families,” says Marquez. “We are carefully rationing products to the families who are most in need.” 

One of those families is a family of 7 who were recently resettled in Phoenix. This family has small children; diapers and basic pantry staples have been difficult to find. Marquez and her team are continually searching for food and hygiene products for these refugee families who need the most support.

Catholic Charities has suspended volunteer opportunities to help reduce the risk of exposure during the pandemic. “When the volunteers stopped coming in, the donations stopped coming in too,” says Marquez. Catholic Charities team members are limiting client contact when possible but many clients need support.

“When we have to, we will provide for them from our own pantries, we won’t let them go without,” says Marquez.

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