Celebrating the Volunteer State

Now more than ever we are stronger together. Time and time again, this period of social distancing is defined not by isolation, but by the generous giving of encouragement, resources, and time.

This week we recognize with our partners in refugee resettlement the volunteers for whom no challenge is too great. The tireless efforts of volunteers across Tennessee to protect the most vulnerable among us and to provide support for essential workers are building stronger, healthier communities. Stories of neighbors making face masks for essential workers, donating necessary cleaning supplies to nonprofit organizations, and delivering groceries to the doorsteps of those who cannot leave their homes are flooding in.

It is not just unusual times, however, that call people to giving their personal resources and energy. Volunteers have a vital role in resettlement. Tennesseans have given their time to drive refugees to appointments or to be conversation partners to help them practice English. They have donated basic household necessities so refugee families can move into furnished apartments as soon as they arrive in the United States, and they have served as mentors to help their neighbors navigate their new home and community.

In Knoxville, a young man volunteers his skills as a photographer and strategic marketer for the local resettlement agency. In Memphis, residents of an assisted living home offer their time weekly to help older refugees practice English. In Nashville, donations are pouring in to contribute to financial relief for those affected by tornadoes or COVID-19. In Chattanooga, a father and son transport heavy furniture donations to furnish apartments.

Connect with our partners to celebrate with them the volunteers of Tennessee and to learn how you can help. Integration into the community and financial stability are necessary for refugees and other immigrants to live self-sufficient lives, but people like you are what makes Tennessee home.

Hard times are still ahead as we navigate the health and economic difficulties presented by COVID-19, and we will stand together to face these challenges. The Tennessee Office for Refugees team is proud to serve the Volunteer State.

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