HIGH POINT, N.C. — With President Donald Trump’s executive order banning refugees from coming to the United States for at least four months, one organization is seeing a big increase in the number of people who want to help.
Workers at World Relief’s High Point branch says in the past month, 200 people have applied to be volunteers for the organization. On Monday alone, 36 people signed up to volunteer.
However, while they’re seeing community support, the organization faces big funding cuts. That’s because refugee arrivals to the U.S. are directly linked to the money received by World Relief. The money is used for helping families resettle, paying workers and even keeping the lights on. So right now, that’s all at a standstill.
“Because funding is tied to our arrivals, our office and other offices around the country are facing a pretty significant financial crisis,” said Rob Cassell, with the High Point branch.
Despite that challenge, they’ve seen the community’s direct support to aid refugee families already here, such as Mawra Ali, her husband, and her six-month-old son. The family has been in the Triad for four years after leaving Iraq.
“We have a family over there so, you can feel like you can feel safe here,” said Ali, “But your family over there – they are not safe.”
Volunteers Sherry Sink and Jennifer Kaminski say their few months spent volunteering directly with refugee families has broadened their horizons.
“We’re helping our neighbors – but our neighbors aren’t just our neighbors down the road,” said Sink, “They’re neighbors wherever they are in the world and this is helping our neighbor.”
“[The refugee] perspective just takes it to a whole new level. What they’ve been through – it’s just our responsibility as people to help,” said Kaminski.
Last year, the office says their volunteers logged a total of 23,000 hours. Much of the work was one-on-one: meeting families at the airport, bringing them to their new homes, even helping refugees find work. A quarter of the refugees were Syrian families. According to President Trump’s executive order, Syrian refugees are barred indefinitely from entering the U.S.