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Back-to-school supply drive to benefit refugee children seeking food and technology, too

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International Child Advancement

Many families are struggling financially after losing work during the pandemic, including some recently-resettled refugees. A back-to-school supply and food drive taking place now hopes to benefit their children.

The Amherst-based nonprofit International Child Advancement helps empower orphans and underprivileged children in the Democratic Republic of the Congo and, locally, in the Buffalo area. This is the organization’s second year holding a school supply drive for refugee students and, this year, there are some new items on their donation list.

“Given the circumstance with the pandemic, we want to make sure that we can provide these families with supplies for their children so they don’t have to worry about that cost and also provide them at least with a bagful of groceries,” said ICA Founder and Executive Director Evelyn Kessler.

The drive has also expanded to request Amazon Fire HD tablets.

“We don’t know what’s going to happen, whether or not the children will physically be in the classrooms or will be learning virtually, full time or partially, so we wanted to make sure that the children were supplied with tablets so that they can follow their lessons and not fall behind due to lack of that piece of technology,” Kessler said.

Kessler, who is originally from the Congo, said losing a job or work hours can be devastating for refugee families who may be surviving on one income and are still adjusting to life in the U.S.

Donations are being accepted now through Aug. 14 online via an Amazon wish list and in-person at three local businesses in Clarence Center and Buffalo.

Kyle Mackie is a multimedia journalist with reporting experience in Israel and the Palestinian territories, the Western Balkans and New York City. She joined WBFO to cover education and more in June 2019.