Portland, OR. Since the 1940s, Catholic Charities has provided Refugee Resettlement services in the Portland area. Through its Resettlement Program, Catholic Charities assists individuals and families that must leave their home lands due to a fear of persecution because of their race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group, and political opinions. Refugees come from all parts of the world. Amina is part of a refugee family of 13 who arrived in Oregon in 2014. Originally from Somalia, her family lived in a camp in Uganda for more than 10 years without access to schools or healthcare. Now, resettled in Oregon by Catholic Charities, she is in the 10th grade, loves to cook, and has big dreams for the future. Amina now has safety, stability, and hope for the future – all made possible by donors who support Catholic Charities.

The Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement Program works to ensure that refugees are properly resettled and adjusted to their new home in Portland. The newly arriving refugee families are greeted at the airport. From the moment of arrival, program staff members work to meet basic needs, including shelter, furnishings, food, and clothing. Case Managers also facilitate referrals to other service providers and assist in enrolling refugee students in school. A community orientation is provided, including information on personal safety and public rules and issues.

A Liberian family of eleven arrived in Portland after spending ten years in a refugee camp in Ghana. The family has now been in the United States for five years and has applied for citizenship. They have successfully integrated into society and have recently purchased their first home. The family has expressed appreciation for all that Catholic Charities has done. This is just one of many success stories of the Catholic Charities Refugee Resettlement program.

Volunteers are essential in welcoming newcomers; putting a human face on the United States and helping the refugees connect with the community. Volunteers, alongside case management staff, partner agencies and the client resettlement plan work together to help refugees in becoming self-sufficient. Volunteers act as Cultural Navigators, orienting them to a new community, helping them with advocacy and resource connections, tutoring them in English and providing friendships. Volunteers may also assist with airport arrivals, apartment set ups, grocery shopping, transportation to/from appointments, bus training, teaching/assisting Cultural Orientation classes and more. The most important gift you can give is kindness and a warm welcome. Depending on the type of volunteering that you choose to do, we ask for up to a six-eight month commitment. For more information about current volunteer opportunities and the next orientation session please contact Michelle Welton, Volunteer/Outreach Coordinator, at [email protected] or 503-688-2689

Donations are crucial in assisting refugees begin their new life and allow them to focus on other priorities such as English-language learning, employment, health care, education and other in-tangible needs.

All donations are tax-deductible and tracking your donation allows us to communicate this important work to the larger community as well as help us in securing additional funding sources to offset such as case management services, rental deposits, utilities and more.

While we would be happy to supply you with a detailed list of items we ensure are supplied to all refugee families, our most urgent and ongoing needs include the following:

  • Blankets
  • Pots & pans
  • Lightly used twin & queen mattresses
  • Metal/Hollywood bed frames of the same sizes
  • Dressers
  • Dining room tables & chairs
  • Laundry soap
  • Toilet Paper
  • Feminine hygiene supplies
  • Baby diapers
  • New toiletries & cleaning supplies

For more information about the program, contact: