By Rabbi Emily Hyatt, President Rocky Mountain Rabbis & Cantors and Renée Rockford, Interim President & CEO, JEWISHcolorado
While at JEWISHcolorado’s Jewish Community Relations Council meeting last Thursday, the Denver Office of Human Rights and Community Partnerships gave us a briefing on the migrant crisis here in Denver. It occurred to many of us that we were able to help, and so within hours, we convened a call with the Office of Emergency Management and began to formulate a plan. 24 hours later, that plan moved to action.
The thing is – we know. Our ancestors all came here from somewhere, and when they got here – they needed help, too. We know that there are hundreds and hundreds of migrants crossing our southern border with nothing more than the clothes they are wearing and the trauma of the journey at their backs. As a Jewish community, we know what that feels like.
And as a Jewish community, we came together this week to start something important. The denominations and diversity of who we are make for the most beautiful collaboration when we bring our differences into shared space and work together to meet a need. And the project continues for the next four weeks, at least.
On this, the Sabbath of Parashat Vayigash, we are upon called not only to inspire change, but to be the change that is needed in the world and to love others, especially those who are different than us.
Shabbat Shalom, Colorado.
DONATIONS OF BACKPACKS
One of the greatest current needs is for backpacks. Many of these new arrivals have only the clothes on their backs, and when they are given essential items and changes of clothing, they have only garbage bags to carry them in. It is simply not practical for these people to move about the city between shelter sites and other service providers, and even more so for those for whom Denver is not their final destination, without secure backpacks. We are aiming to collect 1,000 adult-sized backpacks by January 20. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
DONATIONS OF FOOD AND CLOTHING
At the request of the City of Denver, Temple Emanuel (51 Grape Street in Denver) is accepting clothing and other items:
Donation drop-off hours will be:
MONDAYS from 5PM-8PM
THURSDAYS from 9AM-12PM
*(these times begin 12/26 and extend through the month of January)
Items needed: (*please do not bring or drop off anything that is not explicitly listed. There is no luggage or storage, so extras are not yet something that feels helpful).
- New or *very* gently used Winter coats (men, women, children, infants) —in particular, small and medium
- New or *very* gently used clothing for adults (including cold weather clothing)
- Men’s sizes small, medium, and large – especially sizes small and medium
- Women’s sizes small, medium, and large—especially sizes small and medium
- Long sleeve shirts (men, women, unisex)
- Sweatshirts/sweaters (men, women, unisex)
- Sweatpants (men, women, unisex)
- Pants (men and women)
- Shoes (closed-toe gym shoes) (boys, girls, men, and women) (Men’s size 7 – 10, Women’s size 5 – 8)
- New Men’s and Women’s underwear
- New Women’s sports bras
- New Socks (men, women, unisex)
Weinberg Food Pantry:
Please donate funds or food. Note: the pantry is closed until January 3.
Volunteers are needed to sort and receive donations prior to delivery of items to sheltering locations. Volunteers will be:
- accepting donations
- sorting those donations into categories
- packing the donations prior to their delivery to sheltering locations.
*Volunteers will not have direct contact with individual migrants and no background checks will be required.
There are still many volunteer shifts available.
(Photo: Meredith Levy, Matt Most (JCRC) , Rabbi Emily Hyatt (RMRC & Temple Emanuel), and Lori Kolata)
- Newcomers Fund: Rose Community Foundation has launched The Newcomers Fund, to mobilize the community’s philanthropic interest in supporting the incoming migrant population. Dollars will be directed to Colorado nonprofits providing shelter, food, clothing, medical needs, workforce and employment opportunities, translation and interpretation services, disability accommodations, and more. Grant decisions will be made with guidance from the City of Denver, the State of Colorado, and other community/philanthropic partners closest to the evolving situation.
- The Denver Immigrant Legal Services Fund: provides funds for legal service needs within the city of Denver. This fund is held at the Denver Foundation.
- Amazon Wishlist: You may purchase items from this Amazon Wishlist.
- Jewish Family Service is a permanent Reception & Placement (R&P) agency as an affiliate of the Hebrew Immigration Aid Society (HIAS). HIAS is a nonprofit that provides vital services to refugees and asylum seekers while advocating for their fundamental rights so they can rebuild their lives.
- JFS offers Refugee Mental Health Services.