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Wis. donors offer home goods for incoming refugees

  • Associated Press
  • February 23, 2014 - 5:50 PM

APPLETON, Wis. — About 75 refugees who are expected to relocate to Appleton this year from Congo, Iraq and Myanmar will benefit from the generosity of local donors, who've already begun collecting furniture, toiletries and cleaning supplies for their new neighbors.

The collections were coordinated by groups including World Relief Fox Valley and the Fox Cities Kiwanis, Post-Crescent Media reported (http://post.cr/1nZ2dVI ). The donations will go to refugees arriving in waves through October.

At a donation event Saturday, some people brought couches and upholstered chairs. Others brought kitchen items and lamps.

Jeff Buchta of Neenah said he felt compelled to make a donation after considering the experiences of families who arrived from Bosnia and Cambodia after being sponsored by his church.

"When they got here, they had nothing," he said.

The donations were being collected at a former bank building that was purchased by Lawrence University. The college's students were among the volunteers who helped collect the goods.

Lawrence junior Alex Babbitt says the community was eager to welcome its newest members. While the refugees will arrive with needs, they'll be contributing in the form of a richer community, he said.

"We're widening our diversity," Babbitt said.

This is the third year that the nonprofit World Relief has coordinated the resettlement of refugees from conflict zones around the world. The group helps the immigrants find housing and appropriate jobs.

© 2014 Star Tribune