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Back in May, the generosity of our Get Comfortable businesses made it possible to distribute $135,000 to nine agencies whose day-to-day operations have shifted dramatically as a result of COVID-19. Recently, we sat down with Jim Neal to discuss how Friends of Refugees is adjusting to this ‘new normal.’ 

If you’ve donated to the Get Comfortable Fund this year—whether leaving a tip at our drive-thru or supporting one of the 60 participating businesses—read on to discover the impact your contribution has made.

How has COVID-19 affected you and your team?

“Focusing on food security, we have prepared over 200 family support food boxes for families in our community to support a large scale COVID-19 testing event. Each week we distribute 50+ food support boxes to families served by our programs, expand food production at our Jolly Avenue Garden, and have added a second garden location to provide an estimated 4,000 pounds of food in 2020.”

What have been some of the biggest challenges faced in light of COVID-19? Both for FoR and the individuals you serve. 

“Our refugee neighbors in Clarkston live in one of the highest population density zip codes in the southeast, with large, often multi-generational families in 2-3 bedroom apartments, and thus have an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. Our neighbors are hard-working people experiencing poverty, with household incomes about 60% of the Georgia average and, therefore, very vulnerable to potential job loss. Children in the Clarkston refugee community often don’t have someone at home with the ability to support them with virtual learning approaches. They are thus vulnerable to losing ground in their education.”

How have 2020 Get Comfortable funds helped to meet the Clarkston refugee community’s emergent needs? 

Get Comfortable funds came at the right time to help with our new approach to Summer Camp, covering the costs for supplies and activities for camp participants, as well as purchasing the development curriculum across elementary grade levels. Through collaboration with our partners at Indian Creek Elementary School, we hired six experienced teachers to create a curriculum that helps our campers learn some of what they missed since school stopped meeting in March. Additionally, our ‘At Home Summer Camp’ has directly served 75 kids in the Kristopher Woods apartment complex. The curriculum we funded is being used by other camps in Clarkston, benefiting over 100 more kids.”

We are thrilled to see our partners, like Friends of Refugees, continue to do good and create change throughout COVID-19. 

Way to do Good. Give Back. And #GetComfortable!