Groups step up efforts to help refugees grappling with COVID-19 fallout


PHOENIX – Sharing meals is generally frowned upon in the socially distanced, stay-at-home world of COVID-19, but one aid group is embracing the notion – figuratively, at least.

“Share a Meal With a Refugee,” a program run by the Welcome to America Project, collects donated gift cards to share with refugee families, a group that has been hit particularly hard by the effects of the coronavirus and its shutdowns.

“The goal is to get at least 200 gift cards and to share with families so that I could sit at home with my family and during the meal and say, ‘You know what, we’re having a meal with the refugee family tonight,’” said Mike Sullivan, the agency director for the Welcome to America Project.

It is just one of a growing number of programs by relief agencies that have stepped up to offer everything from gift cards to computers to crowdsourced fundraising to help refugee families grappling with COVID-19 in the Valley.

While COVID-19 has upended most lives, it has been particularly hard on refugees who are more likely to have jobs that put them at risk and less likely to qualify for unemployment if they lose those jobs.…

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