Health Equity Program

Immigrants Resource Center of Maine > Health Equity Program

The IRCM has been working hard to ensure Lewiston-Auburn’s immigrant and refugee populations are being served throughout the pandemic. We want to share our work and journey with all of you.

2020 has been quite eventful for the IRCM, the pandemic forced us to make significant changes to ensure we were following the CDC guidelines. some of these changes included temporarily closing our office, rerouting our office calls to our staff cell phones, providing virtual educational opportunities, and providing transportation services via ride-sharing apps, like uber and Lyft. While these adjustments took time to get used to, our staff did a fantastic job adapting to the organization’s new measures. More importantly, they guided their clients and others seeking direct and indirect services through these novel developments. for instance, our staff began using WhatsApp and social media platforms to provide updates, information, and educational material to language-based groups made up of clients and interested parties.

Besides IRCM’S internal changes, we served as the representation and voice for the immigrant and refugee population throughout Lewiston and auburn’s collective effort towards assisting our community throughout the pandemic. These efforts conducted by the IRCM, and our sister agencies involved hosting several drives and services throughout Lewiston/Auburn for community members in need. In preparation for the school year’s beginning, we hosted the school drive in which we provided backpacks filled with necessary school supplies and Covid-19 preventative information on children’s return to school. Moreover, we were instrumental in advocating for immigrant and refugee children receiving the proper guidance and help throughout the transition to virtual learning. for instance, we offered and provided interpretive services and assistance with parents who didn’t understand how to set up their children’s iPad and computers for virtual learning. When it began to get cold, we had our winter drive in which we provided coats, boots, and gloves to community members with our sister agencies. The IRCM and our partner agencies held winter and school drives over several days in Lewiston and Auburn. once covid-19 testing became more readily available, the IRCM began to host immigrant and refugee households’ events to receive free covid-19 testing through local pharmacies. these events successfully made testing more accessible to immigrant and refugee families in the Lewiston/Auburn area. These drives were some of the significant ways we offered our support, along with local government officials, other service providers, and volunteers, to vulnerable populations.

The IRCM also prioritized food deliveries to local families in need of meals on the weekends. Our staff members worked together in a Covid-safe manner to cook and pack meals for several families in Lewiston/Auburn. our staff would then drive to different families, specifically clients we serve or have served, to drop these meals along with relevant educational materials. these educational materials included Covid-19 prevention, Covid-19 vaccine education, community vaccination line information, etc. this information was seen as very helpful in spreading awareness and answering questions for local immigrant and refugee populations by local agencies. As the vaccines roll out, we’re working with local agencies and the Maine CDC to spread information about the different vaccines and vaccination appointments. we’re passionate about making sure we dispel any myths about vaccines, and we’re working hard to ensure as many immigrants and refugees receive the vaccines as possible. some of our methods have included utilizing social media to share vital information from Maine’s CDC on our pages, sending out weekly topical flyers, and such. The IRCM is proud of how well we’ve taken action so far.