Gallatin Refugee Connections in Bozeman held its main event of the year this weekend.
Volunteers were encouraged to donate household necessities to build kits for newly resettled refugees moving to Missoula.
“I think people often say, well what can I do? Well this is one thing that they can do. They can help at this level,” said Amanda Cater with Gallatin Refugee Connections.
“The idea was to explore how we could help refugees and decided what we could do at the moment was to help those that were already arriving in Missoula. So we organized our first kit drive three years ago in Missoula,” said Marty Albini, coordinator for the Welcome Kit Drive for Gallatin Refugee Connections.
Many refugees settling in Missoula are from Eritrea and the Congo.
“When they hear they’re coming to Montana they have no idea, 'Where’s Montana? Where’s Missoula? What is this place like?' Nobody where they are in a refugee camp has ever heard of Montana,” said Cater.
But receiving the welcome kits makes settling in a little easier.
“One thing that one of the couples said was he just feels this tremendous love from people in Montana.”
Gallatin Refugee Connections works directly with the International Rescue Committee and Soft Landing in Missoula to make sure the home necessities go directly to newly resettled refugees.
And people in Bozeman are eager to be a part of the welcome.
“We’ve got a lot of big hearts in this valley. And it’s really humbling to kind of see how generous people have been,” said Albini.
Gallatin Refugee Connections also works on raising awareness about the global refugee crisis.
They host film screenings, coffee conversations about diversity, as well as awareness panels and presentations.
You can learn more about GRC on their website: https://www.hopamountain.org/gallatin-refugee-connections