The First Parish Blog

Resettle Together – First Parish & Refugee Resettlement

By , Published on September 1, 2016

First Parish is participating in a consortium of faith groups in Needham to support refugee resettlement and there is an opportunity for us to help in a big way during the final weeks of summer and leading into the fall. 

First some background: The Needham “Resettle Together” consortium, which First Parish is a part of, is one of several such consortia in the surrounding area, including towns such as Belmont, Burlington and others.  We are all working together to support the IINE (International Institute of New England), a not-for-profit refugee resettlement agency based in Lowell. 

IINE will be resettling 13 refugee families (70 people) between August 30th and September 15th (mostly in Lowell) and more families in the fall.  To support these families, members of First Parish can help in several ways:

Fill a Bin with Household Goods

Starting Sunday, September 11, a bin will be placed at a table during social hour after services and in the lobby between services.  Our goal as a church is to fill one bin this fall.  Example items include a set of pots & pans, mixing/serving bowls, cooking and eating utensils, etc.  Please see the full list here:

Weekday Volunteers

There will be lots of activity during the upcoming surge in resettlement activity, including setting up apartments, helping clients complete paperwork, walking families to appointments, and more. To help support our staff, we are seeking volunteers for four hour shifts from 9-1pm and 1-5pm between August 29th to September 16th.


During the surge, we very much need several additional Arabic, French, and Swahili speakers for the same volunteer shifts (9-1pm or 1-5pm). We may also need evening on-call interpreters in the same languages.


Especially the week of the 29th, we are seeking individuals with access to trucks and/or vans to help with apartment set ups.

If you would like to volunteer, please send an email to Will Rico ( and/or Si Si Goneconto ( with your name, mobile phone number, volunteering dates/times, foreign language skills, and any additional offers (trucks, landlord leads, etc.).

If you would like to contribute to the bin, please look for our table during social hour starting on September 11 or email Will and/or Si Si to coordinate pickup.

Combining our grassroots energy with IINE’s 100+ years of administrative and social service expertise, we can make a difference for families coming from desperate situations and show that the true way to make our communities stronger is with a loving, positive spirit.

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