Reflecting on Waterford's Week of Giving

Wednesday, December 9, 2020
Students volunteering
Middle and Upper School students sort donations from the community and blankets made by Waterford families to be delivered to 13 local refugee families. 
 

Every year, Waterford School partners with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to support Salt Lake City-based refugee families. The IRC “responds to the world’s worst humanitarian crises and helps people whose lives and livelihoods are shattered by conflict and disaster to survive, recover and gain control of their future.” In Salt Lake City, the IRC has worked with their clients for 25 years.  Waterford and the IRC have partnered for many of those years collecting household, toiletry, and clothing needs for refugee families annually. And while this year’s All School Week of Giving looked a bit different and we missed our beloved Joni Jensen Dinner, our students and families continued the tradition of donating necessities and creating fleece blankets in a big way. 

“I am so proud of the Waterford community and so grateful for all of the involvement in the Week of Giving! Even though it did look a little different this year than it has in years past (because of COVID restrictions) we were still able to work with the IRC to help fill the needs of refugee families in Utah. We were able to collect and sort over 100 blankets, personal hygiene products, and winter clothing items for 13 different families, and could not have done it without everyone's help. Personally, service has always been a really important part of my life, and I hope that volunteer events like this at Waterford will inspire that feeling in everybody. Again, I am so thankful for everyone who contributed in making this year's Week of Giving a success!” - Isabel H.  ‘21 - Community Service Club President

 

PreK-4 blanket
A PreK-4 class cutting and preparing a fleece blanket for donation. 

The IRC asked Waterford to support 13 refugee families comprising 79 men, women, and children. These families hail from Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Afghanistan, Vietnam, Tanzania, the Central African Republic, and Egypt and arrived in the United States within the last two years. To support the families, the Waterford community made 130 fleece blankets at home this year instead of during the school day, and we were so delighted to see so many families participating in this project together. Students and families also brought in dozens of household and toiletry items, including shampoo and conditioner, household cleaners, and dish towels. And to support with grocery needs and purchase specific winter clothing, families provided over $3,000 in gift cards. Waterford’s Community Service students leaders helped collect, organize, and shop during the week.

“Doing service is my passion and has been for as long as I can remember. Waterford's Week of Giving is important because it helps provide essential items to refugees who really need our help... Even though the Joni Jenson Dinner couldn't happen this year, I am so glad that we could still find a way to help.” - Julia H. ‘21 - Student Government Community Service Leader

We are grateful for our partnership with the IRC and the opportunity to support local refugee families each year, and we are grateful to all in our community who help with this long-standing and important effort! Thank you!

Students during the All Schools Week of Giving
Students sorting products during the All Schools Week of Giving

“Waterford's Week of Giving has been the perfect opportunity to help each of these [refugee] families during the holiday season. Although it has looked a little different from years past, the IRC drive was successful and made possible by remarkable school wide participation. I am overjoyed at the number of donations we received and am proud of our community for giving back so generously. In such a challenging time, the Community Service Club is grateful for Waterford's participation and looks forward to working with the IRC in the years to come. “ - Kate P. ‘21 - Community Service Club Vice President