Since the 1970s, the generosity of congregations, community groups and individuals has enabled Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon (EMO) to welcome and assist our new neighbors as they arrive in the Portland metro area. Who are these neighbors? They are families from Africa, Southeast Asia, the former Soviet Union, Cuba/Haiti, Latin America and the Middle East. Many come here fleeing persecution and countries torn by war. Often they arrive with no more than the clothes they are wearing.
Through EMO’s refugee and immigration ministries, refugees are welcomed, given temporary homes with household items and food, and offered assistance as they learn a new language, develop job skills and search for employment. Our ministries include: Russian Oregon Social Services, Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees and SOAR Legal.
Refugees - People who flee their country because of a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership of a particular social group. A refugee either cannot return home or is afraid to do so.
Displaced persons - Like refugees, have been forced to leave their home (because of persecution, war or other threats), but, unlike refugees, remain in their own country.
Migrants - People who leave their country to live in another country, often seeking more money and a better life for their children. Unlike refugees, migrants are free to return home whenever they wish because, although they may be very poor, their lives are not in danger.
Asylum - Somewhere one can go to find safety. To grant asylum means to offer protection in a safe country to someone who is in danger in their own country.
Repatriation - A refugee’s return home. UNHCR believes voluntary repatriation in safety and dignity is the best solution for a refugee.
Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon’s Refugee and Immigration division needs volunteers to help newcomers with the challenge of learning a new way of life in the United States.
Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees (SOAR) needs volunteers to help newly arrived refugees with transportation to appointments, office assistance, picking up donations and help preparing apartments for a refugee family’s arrival. Learn more about volunteering at SOAR.
Russian Oregon Social Services (ROSS) has opportunities available for volunteers to provide classroom English instruction, citizenship classes, in-home tutors, mentors, breast health educators and pro-bono legal services. Learn more about these opportunities.
For more information visit Volunteer Opportunities.