When refugees from Sudan, Afghanistan or Myanmar get off a plane at Portland International Airport, someone from Catholic Charities is there to greet them. And Catholic Charities provides refugee families with a starter apartment to help them assimilate into their new home.
Refugee resettlement is just one of the services performed by the 70-year-old organization, and it is perhaps one of the least known.
Many people believe refugees come to the United States for economic reasons, but Catholic Charities says they come here most often because of persecution in their own countries, frequently because of their religious faith. "Refugees are survivors," the group says, "who have shown they have courage, initiative and creativity. When they are helped to adjust to their new circumstances and rebuild their lives in the United States, they become valued and contributing members of our society."
The resettlement program was featured at this year's Catholic Charities Celebration of Hope banquet, which drew more than 1,000 people to the Oregon Convention Center last weekend.
As a result of an inspiring presentation, which centered on the struggles of a Burmese family, CFM contributed $1,000, the amount needed to provide a starter apartment for one refugee family.
"Moving to a new country is traumatic enough, so we want to support Catholic Charities' effort to secure housing, furniture, bedding and other household supplies to ease that transition," said CFM President Gary Conkling. "Having the security of a home is a good beginning in a new community."
Those interested in contributing to the refugee resettlement program or other programs can contact Catholic Charities at CatholicCharitiesOregon.org or 503.231.4866.