Organizations Gather Winter Clothing Donations for Refugees New to Iowa

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- Two local organizations have joined forces in order to help refugees feel welcome and warm when they arrive in Iowa.

“We started hearing some of the more negative comments on refugees and folks who just arrived in Iowa and thought, that’s not a neighborly or peaceful way to greet new people and welcome them to Iowa,” said Erika McCroskey, director of the Catholic Peace Ministry.

So members of Catholic Peace Ministry and American Friends Service Committee decided to collect hats and gloves for new refugees.

They say it's a small gesture but hope it starts a larger conversation on the issue.

The donations went to Lutheran Services of Iowa. Its refugee community services help people settle in Iowa and officials there say the adjustment is never easy.

“These small acts of kindness are significant to refugees. Many of them come from a troubled background, from a refugee camp, live in unsafe conditions for many years. Many of them come with very little with them, maybe family if they bring them with them,” said John Claes, of Lutheran Services of Iowa.

Claes also said many refugees are unprepared for the cold when they arrive in Iowa, so the winter clothing donations are extremely helpful.

If you would like to donate to Lutheran Services of Iowa or learn more about the refugee program, you can visit its website at www. lsiowa.org.