LOWELL — The Greater Lowell Community Foundation has provided $12,000 in grants to three local nonprofit organizations that help new refugees from Afghanistan resettle in the community.
The grants were disbursed through the GLCF’s Afghan Resettlement Fund, which was established to help nonprofit organizations ensure refugees are connected to housing, employment, transportation, food, acculturation and other related supports, according to a press release from the foundation.
The grant recipients are:
- Andover-based Aaron’s Presents – $2,500 to fund projects for Afghan refugee families in Greater Lowell
- Andover Islamic Center – $6,000 to help Afghan newcomers with clothing, technology, resume writing, job placement and transportation
- Maynard-based Open Table – $3,500 for Afghan Grocery Program in Greater Lowell
Aaron’s Presents provides hands-on, one-on-one mentoring, materials and services, and logistical assistance to any child in grade eight or younger who wants to realize an idea that benefits at least one other person, animal, or the environment. For the past several months, Aaron’s Presents has provided visits and socialization opportunities to Afghan children.
“These visits, initiated by the young people of Lowell who are part of Aaron’s Presents, have given our mentors and children more than we have given Afghan families,” said the association’s executive director, Leah Okimoto, in the press release. “We were moved by their gracious and unhesitating welcome of these strangers into their homes, their generosity of spirit and their capacity for playfulness, kindness, respect and sincere goodwill to transcend language and cultural barriers.”
Okimoto added that the funding provided by GLCF will make more such interactions possible in the future.
According to GLCF, the New England International Institute, which received a previous round of grants, said it settled 228 Afghans in Greater Lowell. To date, the GLCF Afghan Resettlement Fund has distributed $42,300 in grants to aid resettlement efforts.
“Our generous donors who have given to the GLCF Afghan Resettlement Fund have provided nonprofit organizations in the region with the critical support needed to welcome and resettle our new Afghan neighbors,” said GLCF President and CEO. , Jay Linnehan, in the release. “This grant has complemented the work of local nonprofit organizations and expanded our community’s ability to meet the needs of Afghans who have fled their homeland to come to the United States in search of safety.”
Donations to the GLCF Afghan Resettlement Fund can be made online at glcfoundation.org or by mail to GLCF Afghan Resettlement Fund c/o GLCF, 100 Merrimack St., Suite 202, Lowell, MA 01852.