Organization collects donations in Uhler to help refugees


The IUP Holocaust Remembrance Events Planning Committee is sponsoring a donations box to assist refugees in the lobby of Uhler Hall.

Shannon Phillips-Shyrock, committee chair, is leading the collection.

Part of her position is being in charge of planning donations.

Last year, Phillips-Shyrock donated to a women and children’s shelter in Pittsburgh, but this year she chose to support helping refugees in the Pittsburgh area.

She researched organizations and decided to give all donations to the Jewish Family and Children’s Service of Pittsburgh’s (JF&CS) Refugee Resettlement Program.

The Refugee Resettlement Program is dedicated to helping individuals and families who fled their homes because of fear of persecution, imprisonment or death.

Once refugees are relocated to the United States by the Department of State, organizations like JF&CS work at the local level to help the individuals adjust to their new communities.

JF&CS has been resettling people since World War II. Most recently, they have resettled people from countries such as Bosnia, Burma, Bhutan and Iraq.

While JF&CS is not in need of donations of household goods or foods, they do need diapers and wipes.

Monetary gifts are also accepted.

For those interested in donating, diapers or wipes can be left in the collection box until April 14.

Gift cards to Giant Eagle or Walmart, Pittsburgh Bus Connect Cards and monetary donations can be sent to Leslie Aizenman, refugee services director, at 5743 Bartlett St., Pittsburgh, PA 15217.

These donations can be sent to JF&CS at any time.

“This is a very easy way for everyone to get involved helping children in need,” Phillips-Shyrock said.

Additionally, Phillips-Shyrock said she is in charge of the donation process individually, but she does have the help and support of her husband, who is also a member of the Holocaust Events Planning Committee, and their daughters.

Phillips-Shyrock wants her daughters to grow up “understanding that helping others is something that everyone has to do.”

“I think it is important to do this because if everyone did little things such as this to help someone, then the world could be a different place,” Phillips-Shyrock said.

“Lessons from the Holocaust show us how important it is to help each other, and to not turn a blind eye to the suffering of others.

“We all need to focus on ‘Tikkun Olam,’ Hebrew for ‘repairing the world.’”