Missoula’s refugee organizations International Rescue Committee and Soft Landing Missoula collaborated with Bozeman’s Gallatin Refugee Connections to organize welcoming kits for the incoming refugees at the St. Francis Xavier church, Sunday Nov. 5, 2018.
Bozeman GRC employee Wes Cawood drove to Missoula in a U-Haul trailer filled with refugee welcoming kits.
“Since we have not been able to host refugees in Bozeman,” Cawood said, “these are items the families don’t have to budget, [welcoming kits] could mean an extra month of rent.”
Volunteers carried the kits from the trailer to storage rooms within the church, passing the boxes to one another up the stairs to speed up the process. Most packages were stored in an upper floor room.
Among those organizing the welcoming kits upstairs was Soft Landing’s Director of Development and Communications Sophia Bay.
“When refugees arrive to Missoula they are given $900 for three months,” Bay said. “The welcoming kits help the families with extra costs.”
Bay explained the contents of the welcoming kits ranged from kitchen (including eating and cooking utensils) to bedding kits which offer extra comforters and pillows.
St. Francis Xavier’s Director of Religious Education, Brian Johnson said he was honored to host the church as a depot for the welcoming kits.
“God loves everyone, the poor first. We are called out to them. It is an honor use our space in this way.”
Over 100 welcoming kits were collected, and will be given to arriving refugees.