The season of giving may have passed, but The Nationalities Service Center is still in desperate need for winter clothing as Haitian refugees make their way to Philadelphia.
To help meet this need, the migration group from Catholic Relief Services swung into action. Cardboard boxes have been set up in various laundry rooms across Cabrini’s campus. The drive will run until Feb. 26.
Two members of the group assisted the agency in their Engagements for the Common Good classes.
“I was contacted by Dr. Zurek about how NSC needed support. I knew there was an immediate need to help the refugees from Haiti. The first thing we decided that could assist would be to hold a clothing drive,” Michelle Costa, sophomore communication major and CRS ambassador, said.
Each year, the NSC assists over 4,000 immigrants from over 90 different countries and helps them make a smooth adjustment into American society.
“As a refugee agency, they are allowed to take in a certain amount of families from troubled countries. They provide them with a home, jobs and food,” Costa said.
With the recent disaster in Haiti, the number of refugees the NSC takes care of has swelled. Since they come to this country with practically nothing, one of the ways they can aid those coming in is with clothing.
“All the Haitian refugees that are coming to NSC need this help immediately,” Kelsey Kastrava, sophomore communication major and CRS representative, said. “This drive is centered around the refugees. They don’t know anything about the country and they need all the assistance they can get.”
The group is asking students to donate anything from jackets and pants to scarves and gloves.
“We’re looking for practical winter clothing that’s in good shape. We’re hoping that students use good judgment and place things that are of good use,” Costa said.
“I’m hoping people are gracious,” Kastrava added.
While the group hopes to raise a large amount of clothing for NSC, Costa showed concern over where they would be able to place the items as they are being collected.
“My fear is once the clothes are collected, NSC won’t have the proper space to put what has been collected,” Costa said.
The reality that many college students do not bring their unwanted clothes back to school with them after winter break also arose as a concern for Kastrava.
“I’m worried that because we’re in the middle of a season that people aren’t going to have clothing they don’t want. Not everyone has extra clothing at school,” Kastrava said.
When sophomore communication major Liz Krupka first heard that the NSC was looking for winter clothing, she instantly wanted to donate her clothing.
“I heard that the CRS migration group was going to start a clothing drive so I asked people in the group when it was starting. I also asked people from home to bring their own clothes too,” Krupka said.
Krupka was also a part of the ECG class and has seen how desperately the agency needs these clothes in past winters. The class taught immigrants and refugees how to speak English.
“I worked at NSC for a semester and I personally know in the winter these clothes are definitely needed,” Krupka said.
While other organizations hold clothing drives throughout the winter months, this drive is specific to one agency.
“Many times you don’t know where the items are going. With this drive, you do. These people are in immediate need,” Costa said.