In response to the humanitarian crisis unfolding in Afghanistan, Jewish Family Services of Greenwich continues its long history of immigrant integration by taking the lead as a Temporary Refugee Resettlement Agency authorized by both the federal government and the State of Connecticut.
Over the past six weeks, 32 Afghan evacuees have been resettled in the greater Greenwich community. With the help of local churches, synagogues, social service agencies and community organizations, as well as an army of volunteers, JFS has welcomed six multigenerational families. Many evacuees arrived with nothing more than a single bag of belongings, most having no knowledge of English. As each family’s needs are identified, JFS works with our community partners to provide clothing, homes, furniture, household goods, food, transportation, schooling, medical care, and more.
When one family arrived with a four-day old baby, Mothers for Others answered the call by providing diapers and baby wipes. Family Centers has generously provided all medical and dental services. Furnishing six households was no small feat, but was accomplished with the help of volunteers from First Presbyterian Church, Round Hill Community Church, North Greenwich Congregational Church and the Greenwich International Ladies Group. Chabad of Greenwich and Neighbor to Neighbor have been delivering food weekly.
Individual volunteers are also involved. Life-long Greenwich resident Jonathan Kantor says, “As a grandchild of Holocaust survivors, the refugee story of fleeing a home and going to a strange new place is part of my own family’s history. My hope is that as a volunteer I can help lay the groundwork for my new Afghan neighbors to become successful, fulfilled members of our community.”
Helping the evacuees feel welcome and acclimate to American life depends upon the generosity, support, and coordination of our entire community. For just a few hours each week, you can make a huge impact on the lives of our new neighbors. JFS continues to seek volunteers for a wide range of needs. For example, if you are a business owner with employment opportunities, have a free afternoon to drive to medical appointments, or can help teach English, please contact Rachel Kornfeld at JFS of Greenwich at 203-622-1881.