‘Giving trees’ encourage donations for refugees

GARDEN CITY, Kan. (KSNW) — The International Rescue Committee works to help refugees settle in to their new communities and this holiday season, they’re asking for your help.

They call it the giving tree.

“I had brought my three year old, my six year old, and my eight year old,” said IRC volunteer Rachel Chapman. “We had decorated our own tree at home, and they think, ‘Wow, these are for me,’ and so thinking no, this is what others need we’re going to think about others at this time.”

Chapman has been volunteering with the IRC for two years, helping to resettle refugees.

“I think it’s really important that a community,” she said, “whatever religious belief you are, we celebrate them and welcome them into our community.”

This holiday season, the IRC is setting up Christmas trees with ornaments asking for donations.

Refugees are given less than $1000 to set up their new lives and often depend on donations to build their new homes.

It’s a simple concept. Just take an ornament from one of the trees around town, buy the item on it, and drop it off in the collection box.

“Just look and see if there’s something that is feasible for your family,” said Chapman. “They definitely have ranges in prices, so you can do something small as dish soap or something as large as a car seat or a really nice gift card.”

The trees can be found at the Presbyterian Church in Liberal and the library in Satanta. In Garden City, the trees can be found at Central Cup Coffee House, Roots Juice Co. & Wellness Studio, and Hertz Rent a Car.

“These families come from a different country,” said Morgann Audrain, who works at Hertz and wanted to participate in the program. “They don’t have what we have here and so with that it’s giving a hand.”

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