COVID-19 Update

March 25, 2021

Nearly a year later from our first COVID-19 post we continue to reframe and refine our responses. Providing food from generous donors, masks, sanitizing items, and information have all been a part of this year’s work. Our fundamental mission hasn’t changed: to help refugees rebuild their lives in eastern North Carolina.

Throughout the past year, keeping our clients informed of changing requirements and regulations has remained a vital task. Now we are not only emphasizing prevention through personal actions like masking but also disseminating information about the vaccines. As many of you know, there is a great deal of misinformation. With the schools, employers, and community groups we are working to dispel the myths and put factual information into the hands of our clients in their language. We are heartened to see how many are being thoughtful about the vaccine and how many want to know the facts. The local Karen Community Center has made a video with a doctor discussing the vaccine in Karen and English. You can access that video here.

The CDC web site has much information in a wealth of languages:

Although we have suspended in-person meetings and walk-in hours, our work continues. We have learned to Zoom and have helped improve the digital literacy of many of our clients who now regularly attend English classes, job readiness classes, and cultural adjustment classes remotely.

IRM remains committed to helping refugees reach and sustain financial, emotional and social self-sufficiency, and to achieve successful integration into our community. Thank you for your financial support, purchase of needed items, and prayers.

Remote Shopping for Interfaith

September 27, 2020

This has been a strange year for all of us including Interfaith Refugee Ministry. We had received only 7 arrivals up until mid-August. Then we received 14 individuals within one week. We have since received 7 more refugees and are expecting another 7 by the end of September. This will give us a total of 35 people for the fiscal year which ends September 30. In other years our average number was around 170.

We are blessed to be able to serve those who have arrived both this year and in years past. COVID-19 has meant that we are taking all recommended precautions in regard to interacting with donors, volunteers and our clients. It has also meant we had stopped taking donations because we were not willing to expose volunteers or staff to the possibility of contracting the virus. Now we are low on various supplies. In particular, we need twin, full and queen sheets and towels.

An easy way to provide these to us is to order them from our AmazonSmile wish list called Household Items. You can order an item and have it sent directly to our office. Ordering from AmazonSmile means that Amazon will donate a portion of the sale price to Interfaith. We hope you will take the opportunity to help us in this way. Of course, if you are in the New Bern area, you are most welcome to drop items off at our office at 1913 Trent Blvd.

Here is the link: AmazonSmile

Thank you and God bless you.

Washington Post: United States Abandoning Refugees

August 12, 2020

Under the five presidents preceding President Trump, the United States admitted more refugees than the rest of the world, securing its legacy as a haven for the vulnerable. Now, a series of executive orders, regulations and proclamations have made it impossible for U.S. refugee and asylum officers to offer protection to those in need.

Read the full article here.

Refugee School Impact Program

July 07, 2020

The goal of the Refugee School Impact Program Summer Camp is to improve refugee students' language, literacy and social skills through tutoring sessions with teachers. This year, we are facing unusual circumstances as a result of the pandemic. Providing opportunities for our students is vitally important to us, so we had a virtual camp utilizing the online platforms Zoom and Seesaw to help deliver live instruction.

Students were given hands-on materials and school supplies that they used during the two weeks of virtual instruction. Students also received snack bags that included breakfast and snack items for each day. Our students improved their English language skills through science and social studies topics. Learning embedded within a cross-cultural learning community can empower refugee students to engage in science and social studies topics in a meaningful way. They made their own videos, conducted experiments, created art projects and used English to explain their thinking.

We had a great summer camp and are always planning ways to help meet the needs of our families! To see more about our program, please follow us on Facebook @newbernRSI.

IRM Response to COVID-19

June 29, 2020

As we adapt our work to the current pandemic, our mission remains the same: to help refugees rebuild their lives in eastern North Carolina through assistance with initial housing, transportation, employment, school enrollment, cultural orientation and English language instruction.

It is part of our duty to help keep the refugee community informed at all times. We are collaborating with local partners, including the school system, employers and healthcare providers, to ensure that accurate information about resources and events reaches those affected by this crisis.

Although we have suspended in-person meetings and walk-in hours, our work continues.

IRM remains committed to helping refugees reach and sustain financial, emotional and social self-sufficiency, and to achieve successful integration into our community.

World Refugee Day (June 20)

June 16, 2020

World Refugee Day has always been a moment to recognize the contributions and successes of refugees from around the world.

As we prepare to celebrate World Refugee Day in the midst of a global pandemic, Interfaith Refugee Ministry is particularly grateful for the courage and resilience of refugees in the United States who are working tirelessly to keep us all safe.

Read more about how refugees are helping out.