Welcome to our Meet Your Staff Monday Series, where we’ll be highlighting the different members of our team and letting you get an inside look at some of the wonderful people who help further the mission of the Institute!
Today we’re speaking to Gloria, our Donations Coordinator!
1. Please state your name and the position you hold at the Institute.
Gloria Flores Huerta, Donations Coordinator
2. What is your favorite activity to do outside of work?
Gardening and Cooking
3. What is your favorite local immigrant/ refugee/ survivor run restaurant or business?
I haven’t been here too long or had the opportunity to eat out, but I have enjoyed Kabob and Curry and most recently while we celebrated the Buffalo without Borders Dining event, I absolutely LOVED the AL SULTAN meal and it was so nice to meet the owner and his crew.
4. How long have you been working at IIB?
Not long enough! HA HA … I started May 19, 2021, and have loved every moment of it.
5. Can you tell us a bit about your position and/ or department?
I coordinate the all in-kind donations to assist resettlement clients at the immediate moment. I communicate with members of the community who wish to alleviate one of the biggest challenges our clients have – furnishing a home. We have Amazon wish lists that prioritize our most urgent needs, which is constantly updated and sent out to our donors and posted on social media. We have plans to reconnect with our faith based neighbors and schools as well as soon as the pandemic restrictions are lifted.
We have had a huge influx of new arrivals in the last month, and my mission is to ensure that all of the families receive the goods that are necessary for a smooth transition. I take note of the genders, and also if children are a part of the group. I want to make sure they feel welcome, and have began including welcome notes and also make sure that the child is given some story books, or appropriate toys to bring smiles to their faces.
6. What is one way you/ your department has worked through the pandemic to continue your services?
Since my arrival, and I am pretty sure even before, we have been receiving donations … the community has been overwhelmingly supportive, and al-most weekly we get drop offs. We are now making sure that our donees know that we have a specific drop of schedule so that everything that is brought will be put away immediately. Emails and phone calls have not stopped coming in from generous friends who just want to give to make a positive difference in someone’s life.
7. What is one thing you’d like our community to know about refugee/survivor populations?
Everyone living, working in WNY belongs to a community … and even be-fore I moved to Buffalo, I was told that it is known as the city with the friendliest neighbors. I have personally found that to be true… and I believe there could be no better city to welcome our refugee and survivor populations into the different neighborhoods where they will be settled. Many of our clients are leaving behind memories that they would like to forget, and memories that they want to hold on to. Many of them come with fears of the unknown … I have seen it on their faces … not knowing the language and trying to communicate via google translate on their phones. But you know what? They are people, just like you and I looking for an opportunity to start anew … with a chance to carve out a better future for themselves, and their family.
8. What is one thing the community can do to help further your work or our mission?
I believe the most important thing the community can do is: (1) Embrace our families. Say hello to them. Just wave and smile. Try to communicate, they will appreciate that very much. If you see them struggling at the super-market, ask if they need help? Make a difference. Sometimes, silence isn’t always golden
9. Is there anything else you’d like to share?
Take the time to visit our website and read our story and our history, if you have not done so and the embrace our mission. Believe that “To make WNY a better place for, and because of, refugees and immigrants” we need to embrace them and do our part to make them feel welcome and lighten their burden. There is strength in numbers. Three are stronger than one because a cord of three cannot easily be broken. When you are excited about what is going on, you want to share it with others. So join in the excitement of what is going on at the Institute and GET EXCITED! Share our story! Share our history! Share what we are doing! Be proactive and bring others on board. Share our Amazon Wish List! Together we can be a mighty force! Hope to hear from anyone of you soon!