JFS and Habitat for Humanity Announce Partnership to Help Refugee Families

Seeking Furniture Donations!

Wilmington, DE
February 26, 2018

Since its founding, JFS has been working with refugee and immigrant populations, regardless of race or religion. JFS has historical experience responding to international refugee crises; during the last major refugee crisis in the late 1980s, JFS was instrumental in resettling hundreds of families from the Former Soviet Union in Delaware.  JFS has been providing émigré services since 1997. As of 2017, JFS is the only resettlement agency in Delaware welcoming people from all over the world

The new collaboration between Habitat for Humanity and JFS is an exciting example of organizations developing a collective mission “to provide newly arrived refugees a fully furnished and outfitted home” while remaining true to each organizations’ core competencies. Habitat for Humanity, with its ReStore store operations, has the capacity to schedule and pick up donations. JFS has supporters willing to donate furniture, household goods, etc. for our newly arrived refugees. Together we will be able to operate quickly and effectively to welcome these families. Our next refugee family arrives at the end of February; a 4-year-old little girl and her parents who have spent the last 3 years in a refugee camp.

Habitat for Humanity (HFH) and JFS are seeking donations of gently used furniture and household goods from the community. HFH will give JFS credit to spend at the ReStore that represents the value of the donations made in the name of this program. This makes it possible for JFS and the refugee families to shop for what they need and want to prepare the home.

All donations are tax deductible.

Currently, JFS is partnering with HIAS—one of nine national resettlement agencies—to meet refugee families the moment they step into the United States and assist them with everything they need to begin their new life in Delaware. JFS staff members provide transition services and case management to help families resettle, and volunteers assist with tasks from creating resource packets for local landlords and employers, to sourcing furniture for apartments, to providing transportation. JFS works with its coalition partners to host activities and offer educational opportunities including ESL classes to ensure that refugees feel welcome in their new home.

JFS currently leads a coalition of 27 faith-based groups and community organizations which help refugees adjust to their new lives in Delaware. The coalition, RISE: Refugee Integration Support Effort, unites synagogues, churches, mosques, and other organizations like Habitat for Humanity to help immigrants and refugees succeed in Delaware. Furthermore, RISE connects immigrants, refugees, and community members through “cultural exchange opportunities” – opportunities to connect and celebrate their shared strength and similarities, as well as to celebrate diversity. For example, the Islamic Society of Delaware and the Unitarian Universalist Society of Millcreek – both coalition members – recently brought their children’s faith groups together for a shared class, building empathy and the potential for lasting connections.

RISE also works to ensure newly arrived refugees feel fully connected to and embraced by their new community. Volunteers provide refugee families with support in the form of companionship, guidance, and a range of services. Some examples include: connecting with local landlords to help families find safe housing, providing transportation, teaching them to drive and grocery shop and linking families to state and local services.

ReStore Locations:

Prices Corner, 3312 Seminole Avenue
view on map

Middletown Shopping Center, 600 N. Broad Street
view on map

Store hours are Tuesday – Thursday, 10 a.m. – 7 p.m. and Friday & Saturdays, 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.

Partnership Contacts:

Basha Silverman
Chief Executive Officer
Jewish Family Services of Delaware
302-478-9411 #111

Kevin L. Smith
Chief Executive Officer
Habitat for Humanity of New Castle Co.
302-652-0365 x101