Thursday, December 3, 2009

Long Wharf Collects Clothing/Blankets for IRIS

Long Wharf Theatre is partnering with IRIS – Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services to collect clothing and blankets for refugees settling in Connecticut this holiday season.

Donations can be dropped off at Long Wharf Theatre, 222 Sargent Drive, Monday through Friday 10 am to 5 pm, Saturday-Sunday noon to 5 pm or the evening of any performance, Tuesday through Sunday. The drive will run through Jan. 3, 2010.

“The play currently playing on our stage, Have You Seen Us?, is at its core a story of displaced and souls seeking solace and comfort, and sometimes finding it through the good graces of strangers. Long Wharf Theatre supports IRIS and their outstanding work bringing solace and comfort to those who need it most,” said Ray Cullom, Long Wharf Theatre’s managing director.

IRIS — Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services welcomes and resettles approximately 150 refugees each year. IRIS also provides legal services to asylum seekers and other immigrants. Currently, over half of IRIS’s refugee clients come from Iraq. Others come from Afghanistan, Congo, Cuba, Ethiopia, Iran, Somalia, Sudan, and other countries.

IRIS is seeking gently used clothing, blankets and quilts for donation to the many refugees – children, women, and men – who have been invited by our government to start new lives in the United States. Some of the most needed items include gloves, hats, scarves, warm socks, long underwear, winter boots, work shoes, and clothing that could be used to go on a job interview.

“Most refugees come from warm climate countries and don’t have appropriate cold weather clothing. For example, a family from the Congo came to us a month ago carrying only small bags, and wearing flip-flops and summer clothing. Many people had to leave most of their clothing behind and may not have the appropriate clothing for the jobs that they may get here,” said Chris George, executive director of IRIS.

Any clothing not used by refugees will be placed in IRIS’s soon-to-open thrift shop. All proceeds from purchase of the clothes will go towards funding IRIS’s services. “The donations have a double use for us,” George said.

For more information about IRIS, visit or call 203-562-2095. For more information about Long Wharf Theatre’s programming, visit or call 203-787-4282.

1 comment:

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Lauren Yarger with playwright Alfred Uhry at the Mark Twain House. Photo: Jacques Lamarre)

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