Since the 1970s, the generosity of congregations, community groups and individuals has enabled Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon's Sponsors to Assist Refugees (SOAR) 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.

Sponsors Organized to Assist Refugees, an affiliate of Church World Service, resettles hundreds of refugees a year. We link sponsors—congregations, friends or community organizations—with refugees before they arrive in the United States, and help sponsors welcome and assist the refugees in their adjustment to a new life in the Portland metro area. 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.

A refugee is any person who cannot return to his or her home country out of fear he or she will be persecuted because of race, religion, political opinion or national origin.

SOAR provides

• Comprehensive and compassionate resettlement services
• Case management
• Refugee children school enrollment
• Mental health prevention and promotion services
• Cultural orientation
• Volunteer recruitment to help refugees build new lives in our community
• Sponsorship development and training

Get involved

You, your congregation, friends or community organization can help resettle an individual or family. Sponsors create a hospitable environment for refugees and provide for material needs upon their arrival to the United States. Sponsors also help refugees find affordable housing, greet refugees at the airport, help with transportation, be a friend in time of need and assist with other tasks necessary to a new life.

> Contribute money to help meet emergency financial needs.

> SOAR also welcomes in-kind donations for newly arriving refugees. Items in high demand include:
• lamps
• dishes, pots, pans and silverware
• men’s clothing
• toiletries (soap, toothpaste, deodorant, towels, etc.).
• towels and wash cloths
• bed linens, warm blankets, pillows
• diapers

All donations are tax deductible and greatly appreciated.

Volunteer opportunities

> Drivers Needed: Transport clients to appointments.
Help new families who have just arrived in the United States! We need volunteers to pick up clients from their homes and drive them to appointments at other agencies during business hours (Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) on an as-needed basis. We contact you in advance with appointment details. Appointments generally last a few hours and drivers usually contribute once or twice per month (about 2 to 6 hours). No previous experience working with immigrants and refugees is necessary, but please possess patience, flexibility and a sense of humor. Due to budget constraints, we are not able to reimburse volunteers for their mileage at this time.

If you are interested in volunteering with SOAR, or would like more information, please contact Vum Sian, SOAR Program Assistant/Volunteer Coordinator, at (503) 284-3002 or

> Sponsor refugees.
> Acquaint refugees to American culture.
> Tutor English.
> Pick up refugees from the airport.
> Accompany clients to appointments, either on public transit or with private vehicle.
> Donations Coordination: Solicit and pick up donations.

For more information about volunteering for SOAR, call (503) 284-3002 or email


SOAR location
7931 NE Halsey St., Ste. 314, Portland, OR 97213
phone (503) 284-3002
Vesna Vila, Program Manager