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East County News Service

Photo by Rachel Williams: Syrian refugee children in El Cajon

March 29, 2020 (San Diego) – Refugees are among the hardest hit among our local residents impacted by COVID-19 shutdown orders. These are immigrants legally admitted to the U.S. after suffering war, famine, or other life-threatening hardships, primarily from the Middle East, Africa, and Southeast Asia.

To help these new Americans, Partnership for Advancement of New Americans, in partnership with other refugee assistance organizations, has launched the San Diego County Refugee Assistance Fund.  Every penny will be donated directly to help a local refugee family.

You can donate here:

Their goal is to raise $100,000 so that they can support 100 families with grants of $1,000 each. In the first three days, over $80,000 has been raised.

According to their website:

"COVID-19 presents tremendous challenges for already struggling refugee families.

"The majority of San Diego’s refugee workers are in the restaurant, hotel, and transportation industries hardest hit by the pandemic. Even with the City of San Diego taking action to halt evictions, foreclosures, and utility shut-offs, people already struggling to make ends meet are now managing reduced work hours or furloughs, school closures, childcare challenges, and food scarcity. Community members have lost their jobs, drivers are facing major disruption with Uber and Lyft, and families have children that need to complete school assignments online, but don't have internet connectivity at home.

"To meet these immediate needs, PANA and its partners are launching the San Diego County Refugee Families Emergency Fund. In close collaboration with trusted partners like the United Woman of East Africa Support team and others, we plan to provide small, one-time grants to cover rent, utilities, childcare, food, and other emergency needs. PANA has already dedicated one of its team members to triage COVID-19 emergency support.

As you can imagine, the requests for assistance are flooding in. We set a goal to raise a minimum of $100,000 to meet the short-term needs of refugee families. The Mundt Peacemakers Fund at the San Diego Foundation has generously committed to match $20,000. Please consider donating today to help us reach our goal and support refugee families during this crisis."

Partnership for the Advancement of New Americans — PANA 4089 Fairmount Ave, San Diego, CA 92105 —

Islamic Center of San Diego — ICSD 7050 Eckstrom Ave., San Diego, CA 92111 —

Karen Organization of San Diego — KOSD 5354 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92105 —

United Women of East Africa Support Team — UWEAST 6523 University Ave, San Diego, CA 92115 —

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