Donation Drive to Support the International Rescue Committee of San Diego

Anna Choi, BS, IBCLC

Here at the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, we love women; we love moms; we love our community. And perhaps most of all, we love helping the women and mothers in our community. When we heard about the recent travel ban put forth by President Trump’s Executive Order, we knew it was time to reach out to our friends at the International Rescue Committee of San Diego to see what we could do to help. In our discussions with IRC San Diego staff, we learned about the devastating effects the Executive Order was having [and would continue to have] on the ability of the IRC to provide support and basic necessities for refugee families who have resettled in San Diego.  As we read about the decision of the U.S. Appeals Court to uphold the suspension of the Trump travel ban, we celebrated with our friends at the IRC. 

David Miliband, President and CEO of the IRC, tells us:

“We are grateful that we can get back to work resettling refugees who have fled the terrors of war and violence, while also caring for those who remain trapped in conflict zones. As this ruling will almost certainly be appealed to the U.S. Supreme Court, in the meantime, the IRC remains committed to serving our refugee clients here in the U.S. and in more than 40 countries around the world.”

What does this decision mean for the IRC? It means that refugee resettlement cases that were put on hold due to the travel ban can now continue to move forward. Families who have spent years in refugee camps, fleeing war and oppression, can once again look forward to a new life in a safe community. For the IRC San Diego Resettlement Team specifically, it means the arrival of 78 new refugees in the coming days, weeks, and months. Those arriving in San Diego include wives reuniting with husbands, children with parents, brothers with sisters, and friends with friends. It also means an increased need for donations and support from the community. That’s where we, at the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, and you, come in!

Some of the more common needs of the IRC San Diego [aside from monetary donations, which you can contribute here: https://help.rescue.org/donate/us-san-diego-ca ] are diapers and women’s hygiene kits. Those arriving in San Diego include three 2-year olds, two 1-year olds, and several pregnant women. As mothers ourselves, we know firsthand how expensive diapers are, and what an impact the expense can make for those on a fixed income. The first few days in San Diego are very transitionary for newly arriving refugees, and as permanent housing and living expenses are arranged, it can be very helpful for IRC staff to have hygiene kits on hand to distribute, helping newly arrived refugees get through their first few days in a new place. 

So, we’ve challenged ourselves to collect 500 diapers and 50 women’s hygiene kits in 50 days. Donated diapers can be any brand and any size, in unopened packages. Hygiene kits should include the following items: 

  • 10+ sanitary pads
  • wet nap towelettes
  • kleenex
  • deodorant
  • soap
  • lotion
  • shampoo/conditioner
  • toothbrush/toothpaste
  • $10 Walmart Gift Card

Today is day 1. Here is a picture of the hygiene kit I created to give you an idea of what the finished product looks like. Kits can include travel sized portions of the above items, or full sized containers, packaged into a gallon ziploc bag or a grocery bag.

Having visited the IRC San Diego offices and spoken with staff members, I can’t tell you enough how much these donations are appreciated and needed. All donations can be dropped off at our weekly Breastfeeding Support Group, held at our office in Hillcrest {3355 4th Ave SD 92103} every Wednesday from 11:30am-1pm. We will also have a Saturday donation collection on Saturday, March 25th from 10am-12pm, also at our Hillcrest office {3355 4th Ave SD 92103}. The last day to drop off donated items is April 19, 2017.  We hope you will help us reach our goal and stand with us as we support the refugee women and mothers in our local community.