Not sure where to donate this Giving Tuesday?
Here's a roundup of stories I've done featuring organizations working with immigrant and refugee communities.
It's Giving Tuesday and you're probably getting a lot of emails. And you may be thinking, wait, what does this organization do again?
Hopefully I can help fill in that information gap.
Since I launched 285 South in 2021, I've had the chance to learn about and witness firsthand the work of so many different immigrant centered groups in metro Atlanta.
Here's a quick roundup:
We Love Buford Highway is a nonprofit dedicated to preserving the multicultural identity of Buford Highway. Since the pandemic hit, they've been hosting regular food distribution drives that are sensitive to the communities they serve (no ID checks, staple items so people can cook their own recipes, and conveniently located). I attended a food distribution event at the Mexican consulate a few months ago, and wrote about it: "Inside the fight to get food to those who need it most."
Los Vecinos de Buford Highway is an organization dedicated to supporting a grassroots network of Spanish speaking communities living along Buford Highway. They do everything from voter education to food drives to education around tenant rights. They also help protect their communities from eviction through rental assistance and legal aid. Read: What the end of the eviction moratorium could mean for families living along Buford Highway and Raw sewage is erupting out of bathtubs in an apartment complex on Buford Highway, but no one wants to deal with it.
Georgia Immigrant and Asylum Network also helped support immigrant families with rental assistance, which I wrote about here. When the mass evacuation began in Afghanistan later that month, they launched Project Ally to support Afghan families - which you can learn about here.
Latino Community Fund - Georgia has played a major role in getting LatinX community members vaccinated. I've attended two of their vaccination events and saw firsthand how Daniela Racines helped ease people's anxieties about the jab. Read: "Right now we’re targeting the most difficult population."
Raksha, Inc supports South Asian communities through direct services and education, including counseling. I spoke with three of their counselors to learn about their day to day work, the clients they serve, and the need for even more in language, culturally sensitive mental health support for immigrant communities. Read: Why we need more therapists in Atlanta who speak languages other than English.
Noor Family Services provides legal support and counseling to survivors of domestic violence in multiple languages including Arabic, Urdu, and Spanish. I spoke with their executive director, Chama Ibrahim, about the challenges many immigrants have in accessing support and the need for a shelter in metro Atlanta dedicated to serving these communities. Read: "Domestic Violence is a big issue and it's in every group."
The Welcome Co-Op finds and secures housing for refugees resettling in the Atlanta area. With so many Afghan families arriving and a shortage of housing, they have been EXTREMELY busy. Check out: "It's a crisis: Refugee advocates say not enough housing in Clarkston area for newly arriving Afghan families."
New American Pathways supports refugees with everything from English language classes to job placement. I attended the Tucker Job Fair in September where I saw their job specialists walk from table to table with newly arrived refugees, introducing themselves to potential employers. That event alone led to at least seven of the refugees they work with, securing employment. Read: "As GA labor shortages persist, employers in Tucker look to refugees to fill positions."
Somali American Community Center is, at least right now, a one man organization. And that one man, Omar Shekhey, has his hands full. "A lot of what he does is filling in the information gaps that come with adjusting to life in a new place. Need help with navigating section 8 housing? Accessing unemployment benefits? Paying your rent online? Go visit Omar Shekhey. And since COVID, his workload has multiplied." Read the full story: "Omar Shekhey is a lifeline for Somali immigrants in Atlanta."