Thanks for a Season of Tremendous Giving
New American Pathways Resource Coordinator Jayme Hogan-Yarbro looks back on her first year collecting in-kind donations for new arrivals this past winter – and all the community members who made this holiday season a huge success.
This year, the dedicated friends and supporters of New American Pathways got in the holiday spirit by giving to our organization and donating volunteer hours and in-kind items. With over 5,000 items given, a record number of faith-based organizations, community groups, friend circles and individuals contributed to our holiday and winter item donation drives.
One of the most exciting aspects of working with New American Pathways during the holiday season is Secret Santa. Each year, we collect gifts for students in our three afterschool programs – about 140 kids! Each afterschool site hosted their own party for students to receive their gifts, and each child received a bag full of individualized gifts plus cookies donated to New American Pathways by Brad Myers and our friends at the CDC.
Many community members came together to make the holidays bright for our students and their families. Students and parents of The Galloway School donated over 400 wrapped presents, and made sure there were gifts for every age range! Longtime friends The Paideia School also participated in the fun and Don and Janet Watson (below left), a lovely local couple, were our own Mr. and Mrs. Claus – they gave over 100 items themselves! Oak Grove United Methodist Church donated not only tons of presents for the kids, but they also delivered a generous check to ensure that no one was left out this holiday season.
Children’s gifts weren’t the only items donated to our organization this winter. Throughout the season, we collected coats and winter items to keep our clients warm. Thanks to the wonderful people at Finders Keepers Consignment, Georgia State’s College of Education and Human Development, and Engel & Volkers, we were able to collect and distribute over 350 winter items to our new American families.
With Syrian arrivals in the news this winter, many donors wanted to focus on our clients’ basic needs. Kristin Moody and her friends donated hundreds of items, including over 15 boxes of diapers, along with notes of support for the refugee community. The Ismaili Community donated 125 backpacks filled with school supplies, and the Georgia Chess Association also donated backpacks – as well as 100 hygiene kits for children and adults. Turner Broadcasting and The Galloway School both donated dozens of blankets – a much-needed item this winter.
Service was also on the minds of many this holiday. Students from Florida International University came by for a day of service as part of their Alternative Winter Break. They helped sort in our clothing closet and took time to write letters of support for refugees to Florida Governor Rick Scott. Alternative Break students from Florida State University weren’t far behind. These Seminoles spent a long weekend serving New American Pathways and the community – including delivering donated gifts to new arrivals. We were also visited by members of Our Lady of the Lourdes Catholic Church who helped set up an Apartment for a newly arrived family. The Capitol Group also held their own apartment set up, first collecting items to fill the apartment for a new American family.
As the Resource Coordinator of New American Pathways, I was able to witness first-hand the tremendous outpouring of support shown to the refugee community during my first holiday season at the office. Coming into work during the holiday season barely felt like work at all because I was surrounded daily by colleagues, donors and community members whose main goals were to help welcome our new American families through the act of seasonal giving. Thanks to everyone who made this year so special!