This month we are highlighting three incredible volunteers who have taken on a big task here at New American Pathways- our clothing and basic needs closets. Sharon Abdel-Khalik, Rina Rosenberg, and Lorraine Lombardi dedicate time weekly to ensure the closet is organized, clean, and offers a welcoming environment to new refugee families.
Our Service and Volunteerism Coordinator, Hana, has this to say about Sharon, Lorraine and Rina: “Our Clothing and Basic Needs Closet volunteers are amazing. Loraine, Rina and Sharon have taken complete ownership over the management of the closet to make sure it is both accessible and beautiful for our clients. It feels like a department store when you walk in, because they treat our clients with dignity in the way that they have organized the space.”
Sharon Abdel-Khalik dedicated her career to helping others as a registered nurse, and felt inspired to volunteer at New AP in 2017. Her daughter called her, upset about rhetoric surrounding immigrants, and Sharon suggested that they make a difference together. In addition to her time organizing the clothing closet, Sharon also volunteers as a tutor through English at Home and has helped set up apartments and visited clients in the hospital. She says of her motivation to serve “The clothing closet is important because it says welcome to me. I want to make a difference, and that can be seen when you serve. It’s everyone’s responsibility to make a difference, so focus on your passion and put your energy there.”
Lorraine Lombardi is retired from the Housing Maintenance department at Emory University and connected with New AP through Finders Keepers Consignment. She wanted to get involved and when learning about refugee resettlement and New AP, she decided to help with keeping the basic needs closet updated. She says that volunteering is a way to live out the Golden Rule: do unto others as you would have them do to you. Lorraine says of her motivation: “My motivation is my grandparents, who came to this country for a better life. And to honor our new immigrants, with their courage and determination, striving for those same opportunities for themselves and their families.”
Rina Rosenberg is a retired dietitian who spent 17 years working for hunger relief organizations, most recently at Atlanta based CARE. Her father was an immigrant whose family escaped pre-war Europe and whose parents had to make tremendous sacrifices to ensure their family was safe. She learned about New AP from a former co worker and selected to help in the clothing closet because she is good at organizing. Rina’s Jewish faith teaches the importance of “tikkun olam”- repairing the world. Working at the clothing closet is one way she can do that. She says “It is very rewarding to help the people who come through the closet to find what they need. The smiles on little kids when we find them a superhero t-shirt just light up the room. Others leave with the proper clothes to go to a job interview. We don’t always have everything they need, as the closet depends on whatever people choose to donate, but we try.”
Thank you Sharon, Lorraine, and Rina for your dedication to welcoming clients through our clothing closet, and for all you do at New American Pathways. We are immensely grateful!