The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

The official student news site of Algonquin Regional High School in Northborough, MA

THE ALGONQUIN HARBINGER

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Northborough Residents step up to assist new refugee arrivals

The+Northborough+Food+Pantry+has+extended+its+food+distribution+efforts+to+the+newly+arrived+refugee+families+from+South+America+and+the+Caribbean.
Altea Mehillaj
The Northborough Food Pantry has extended its food distribution efforts to the newly arrived refugee families from South America and the Caribbean.

The Northborough community has come together since this summer to support newly arrived refugee families from South America and the Caribbean through donations and volunteering efforts. 

Twenty-nine families arrived in Northborough this July and are currently staying at a town motel. State authorities have been providing essential supplies, including food, and the Northborough Health Department has been actively involved in coordinating efforts through the town’s Emergency Assistance Shelter.

“The goal is that people are being stabilized [and that] they become financially secure [so eventually] they can secure their own housing; it sort of goes both directions,” Director of the Northborough Health Department Kristin Black said. “People are coming out of the shelter, people in those terms could be refilled by the state with a new family.” 

We want to protect them as families. We want to make people aware of this system and hopefully enlighten them to be supportive because we wouldn’t want to see anyone targeted, called out or discriminated against.

— Director of the Northborough Health Department Kristin Black

The new arrivals are staying indefinitely, since it’s difficult to anticipate the timeline. Other shelters have closed or moved, including one in Southborough that closed late this summer. Since the new families arrived, many local organizations have also stepped up to help the refugees through various programs.

“I think we’re really fortunate; the community’s been really very supportive,” Black said. “Many different non-profit agencies and groups in town have been helpful… and we do have the national guard deployed in the town of Northborough to assist.” 

The Northborough and Southborough school districts have also opened their doors so the newly arrived students can still get an education while they are living in Northborough. There is a small number of students who are currently enrolled, but the identities and exact number of these students are classified in order to protect their health and safety. 

“We want to protect them as families,” Black said. “We want to make people aware of this system and hopefully enlighten them to be supportive because we wouldn’t want to see anyone targeted, called out or discriminated against.”

Northborough Helping Hands, an organization that supports Northborough residents in need, has also worked to create a safe and welcoming environment for the families. They have hosted clothing and shoe drives, provided families with needed personal items and facilitated school supplies distributions. The organization recently held a new and gently-used winter coats, boots and snowpants drive. 

“In the past, we have the people in the community that we have serviced, but now we are going to be servicing both the people in the community and our guests from afar,” Director of Northborough Helping Hands Jane O’Toole said.

Community members have donated contributions to the Northborough Food Pantry for refugee families. (Altea Mehillaj

The Northborough Food Pantry has also recently extended its food distribution efforts to the newly arrived families. Food Pantry director Karen Scopetski shared that the food pantry has received substantial support thus far, but an impactful way students can help is through food drives. The food pantry is currently collecting quarters to help the refugees clean their laundry at laundromats.  

“We are just helping in any way that we can, as we would with anybody that showed up and was hungry,” Scopetski said.

On top of those organizations’ efforts, town residents can purchase needed items from this Target gift registry and drop them off at the Northborough Police Department. 

“We are just doing what we can to make them feel welcome and part of the community until they know what they are going to do,” Scopetski said.

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About the Contributors
Altea Mehillaj, Assistant News Editor
I took journalism my freshman year and now I am an Assistant news editor. I started writing for my middle school newspaper and I fell in love with writing articles, so when I went to high school I knew I had to join the harbinger. Outside of school I love to read, play tennis, and spend time with my friends and family (especially my dog).
Calla Torres, Assistant News Editor
Calla decided to join the Harbinger as an assistant news editor after taking journalism during her sophomore year. She’s always loved writing and discovered an early passion for journalism during a school project in the third grade. In her free time, she enjoys hanging out with friends and listening to Taylor Swift.
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