News and Needs

News & Needs

What we need now:

Baseer, Nabila and their two little daughters have moved into their new home in Cold Spring, and are in need of the following:

  • 2 matching table lamps for bedroom
  • 2 table lamps + 1 floor lamp for living areas

If you have items to donate, please email us (with pictures). Thank you!

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May 11, 2022

 

A Temporary Lull in Resettlements

Last week, we anticipated a Guatemalan refugee family arriving here, as our third resettlement in four months. But, like the Afghan and Ukranian families we worked with in April, this family was ultimately offered a way to keep their kids in their schools and stay where they were.  There is much generosity in this country.
 
Why, you may ask, are we working on moving families already here instead of on new arrivals? First, because we were asked, and the need was urgent and real. And second, because April and May have seen a lull in resettlement, after the heavy push to move Afghans out of the military camps.
 
Sadly, the lull in resettlements will not last. Next week we will share important news on how – with your continued support – we think we will be able to respond. 

Our work depends upon the generous donations of our community. If you are interested in supporting our efforts by donating directly, or if you would like to subscribe for periodic updates, please click below. Thank you for your support.

May 4, 2022

 

At the end of the day, refugees find their way

Through these posts, we have tried to convey the ups and downs of resettling refugees. These beautiful people leave an indelible impression on our hearts. It is a privilege to be allowed into their lives at such a vulnerable time, and a pleasure to explore every possible contingency to assure their wellbeing. As you play such a vital role in this work, here is an update of where our newest families have landed.

  • We are happy to report that the Ukrainian family found just what they needed in New Jersey, where the community is supporting them as we would.
  • After careful consideration, the Afghan family of five, who fell in love with Ossining on Earth Day and vice versa, has decided to stay in New Jersey where their children can finish up the school year, the wife can continue vital physical therapy, and the rents and wages are more favorable in the long run.

Latest news: we are in discussions with Catholic Charities and a Guatemalan family. It could be a wonderful fit for all. Stay tuned….

Apr 26, 2022

 

Supporting temporary stays in the U.S. for Ukrainian Refugees

Did you know… the Biden administration has established Uniting for Ukraine, which allows Americans to sponsor Ukrainians under a system known as humanitarian parole. Those willing and able to provide financial support for the Ukrainians for up to 18 months must be vetted before they can be accepted.

 

Ossining for Refugees has a small group exploring the program on behalf of all of us, and we have taken initial steps to make this a reality. We have submitted preliminary paperwork and will be getting names of Ukrainians needing to be sponsored. Applications must be made by individuals, but individuals can receive support from houses of worship or other groups.
If you (or your house of worship) wish to be part of this program, kindly notify us at info@ossiningforrefugees.org.

Apr 20, 2022

 

At the Heart of What We Do

Two weeks ago, O4R offered safe emergency housing for a world-weary Ukrainian family. Happily, that family has found a warm outpouring of support in NJ. But we were ready.

 

In the last 24 hours, we have been asked to resettle an Afghan family of five, beginning
May 1. Such short notice is not unusual and so we immediately went to work looking for affordable housing, alerting the schools, lining up volunteers, and exploring jobs for the dad. We do all this not knowing if the family will choose to move here, where they have no family or other connections.


This is what O4R was created to do, and we embrace the work and the uncertainty. It reflects that we as a community are offering this family a choice, standing with them while they make the important decisions in their lives. Your generosity and flexibility
support us in this mission, and we thank you.

Apr 12, 2022

 

An Early Arrival from Ukraine

Last week, we were alerted by WJCI and a rabbi in NJ of the urgent need for housing for a Ukrainian family of nine, with days left on space in a hostel in NYC. We checked with key Supporting Organizations and within 48 hours O4R was able to offer two months of interim housing, with support for food, transportation, and ESL as needed. We also noted reasons that this family might be best resettled in NJ. The Rabbi has now offered them his own home through Passover.

 

“They also serve who stand and wait.” So a big thank you to the Center at Mariandale, to WJCI, and to our volunteers for standing ready. It was a great relief to the family and the Rabbi to know that there was and is a safe option here in Westchester, while they try to find what is best for this family.

 

Thank all of you for standing with us.

Apr 5, 2022

 

Helping Ukrainian Refugees

Our hearts go out to the people of Ukraine, and we are ready to serve those fleeing their beloved homeland and seeking refuge here. O4R volunteers are prepared to address their immediate physical needs – food, shelter, medical care – and are sensitive to the deep emotional wounds they will continue to suffer. In this season of religious holidays, including Passover, Easter, and Ramadan, we pray for peace and look forward to providing stability, comfort and hope to Ukrainian refugees. Thank you, as always, for your support. We will keep you posted.

Mar 29, 2022

 

Thrift Shops to the Rescue!

Thrift shops of O4R Supporting Organizations have been a key part of how refugees (and all of us) can live better on a budget. Just last weekend, Baseer and family discovered a lovely table and chairs and other things they liked at St. John’s Thrift Shop in Pleasantville. The IFCA Thrift Shop, reopening April 5 in a larger space across from Four Seasons in Ossining, has also made its clothing available to refugees resettling here, and will continue to do so with even more to offer. As our new neighbors go forward, these shops give them the power to make their own choices and pay their own way, at prices they can afford. You can help these shops help others by shopping there for yourself, which also benefits the environment by recycling gently used items.

Mar 23, 2022

On Sunday, March 20, Afghans from across Westchester came together to celebrate Nowruz (literally “new day”), which marks the arrival of spring and a new year. Attendees (including some lucky O4R volunteers) enjoyed traditional foods, from Qabili Palau, a delicious chicken dish with carrots, to the dried fruit and nut holiday specialty, Haft Mewa (“seven fruits”). There were kids on tricycles, Afghan music, lively conversation, and much dancing.

 

Organized in part by O4R volunteer Qudsia Haseq, the event was also a wonderful opportunity for Afghans to meet each other, and for us to find out how more experienced refugees had dealt with driving tests, DSS, and other challenges. A fun cultural event and an education all around! It felt great to be welcomed as friends of the Afghan community, and to share this joyful evening.

Mar 15, 2022

The Center at Mariandale is a retreat of simple beauty and peace. Its meandering pathways, contemplative maze and views of the Hudson River are themselves restorative and healing. Led by Dr. Carl Procario-Foley, the Center and its staff are instinctively welcoming and generous. 

 

Four weeks ago, as Baseer’s family bounced from one AirBNB to another, Carl offered part of their main building as a refuge for the family – for up to seven weeks, at no cost. The staff had a welcome party, hosted quilters giving a gift to Freshta, and gave Baseer and Nabila space to settle in while negotiations and arrangements proceed (successfully) at the camp.

 

A big thank you to the Center for this generous and timely gift, truly “welcoming the stranger.” We are proud to have them as a Supporting Organization of O4R.

Mar 8, 2022

THANK YOU to pianist Hui-Mei (“Fimi”) Lin and cellist Peter Seidenberg for their brilliant and moving Beethoven concert Saturday, March 5, at Briarcliff Congregational Church (BCC). The “free will” offering for Ossining for Refugees raised $3,200, with subsequent donations still being received by mail. In her thanks to the audience, Fimi, who is Music Director at BCC, shared her personal immigrant story. Coming from Taiwan alone to study music, the 15-year-old Fimi was given shelter, food, and friendship by a kindly young woman who remains her close friend today. This generosity has made all the difference in her life. 

Successful resettlement requires money! Thank you, Peter and Fimi, for bringing joy to all in attendance while also supporting this important initiative to assist “our newest neighbors.” Bravo!

Mar 1, 2022

Wow! In the last two weeks our network of Supporting Organizations came through with a double stroller, a tea kettle, a pressure cooker (as a surprise birthday gift) AND free housing through March 15, when Baseer’s family can move to the summer camp. 

 
In addition to covering the family’s food, ESL classes and basic necessities since their arrival, your donations are also making the summer camp job possible by paying for his on-the-job training, while O4R volunteers will help him get a NY driver’s license and meet other camp requirements. Here one month, Baseer is seizing the opportunity for a new life. See what we can do together! 
 
Thanks to all for being part of the O4R Support Network.

Feb 16, 2022

A big THANK YOU to our Supporting Organizations and their members.  Your donations, connections, and leads have lined up furnishings, starting food supplies, and warm clothing for all, plus many job options for F and Baseer. (F is accepting two, Baseer still exploring.)  Open Door, Neighbors Link and Career Closet have also provided key services on short notice. Connecting our four communities has magnified our impact.

Jan 25, 2022

We are pleased to report that our first refugee, F, is here, happy and thriving! She thanks everyone for welcoming her so warmly.

Ossining for Refugees is a Community Sponsorship organization, bringing together neighbors, houses of worship, community organizations and key service providers in Ossining, Briarcliff, Pleasantville, and Croton, with the shared mission of welcoming and integrating federally-sponsored refugees into our community.