Volunteer With Refugees

JFS was founded in 1892 to help immigrants and refugees establish new lives in the Puget Sound region. An unwavering commitment to welcome the stranger has been part of our work ever since. There are many ways you can help today! We have do-it-yourself opportunities, direct service opportunities and advice on advocacy.

Contact Volunteer Services at (206) 461-3240.


ESL Tutor

Help new refugees learn English through weekly sessions, concentrating on basic and conversational English. Create your own engaging lesson plans, or use JFS tutoring materials to promote learning and cultural sharing.
Opportunities available in Kent
6 month minimum commitment, 2-4 hours/week

Housing Assistant

Help refugee families receive the items they need to start their new lives in America. Work with JFS to make new homes welcoming and ready as you set up apartments and assist in furniture pick-up and delivery.
Opportunities available in Kent
Must be able to lift up to 50 pounds

Job Club Assistant

Job Club helps newly arrived refugees gain the skills they need to find employment in the U.S. You’ll assist the teacher with curriculum delivery and support students who have varying English language skills to understand materials.
Opportunities available in Kent
Fridays from 9 a.m. – noon

Mentors for Refugees Who Are Highly Skilled Professionals

Tatweer is a mentorship program that helps highly skilled refugees better integrate into their professional communities. You can make a huge impact in a refugee professional’s life by donating your time and expertise as a mentor.
6-month commitment for mentors
Interested businesses, please contact us.


Contact Volunteer Services at (206) 461-3240 to schedule a time to drop-off your do-it-yourself donations.

Organize a Basic Needs Collection

Purchase items for donation or organize your friends, neighbors, school or congregation to collect these items that are always need. Drop them off at JFS, and we’ll be sure they go to resettled refugees or the other very low-income people we serve. Items needed include:

  • Toiletries like toothpaste, toothbrushes, bars of soap, shampoo, unscented deodorant and disposable razors. Full- and travel-sizes welcome.
  • Diapers are always needed, especially sizes 3 and 4.
  • Warm blankets for twin and queen beds. Please note: for health and safety reasons, we can only accept new items in their original packaging.
  • Umbrellas, especially travel and compact sizes.

Assemble Household Baskets

Want to make something more personal? Create a theme basket or baskets with much appreciated necessities. This is a great project for groups – creativity is encouraged!

  • Kitchen Baskets that could include flatware; cooking utensils like spatulas, ladles and tongs; a can opener; oven mitts; knives; and, cutting boards.
  • Bedding Baskets that could include a mattress pad, sheet set and comforter. Twin and queen are the most needed sizes. Please note: for health and safety reasons, we can only accept new items in their original packaging.
  • Backpacks of School Supplies are always helpful. Pencils, pens, highlighters, crayons, composition books, post-it notes and spiral notebooks are good for most ages. Graphing calculators, sketch pads and USB drives are items that middle, high school and college students can use.
  • Cleaning Caddies filled with items like all purpose-cleaner, glass cleaner, powder cleanser, sponges, cloths or rags, small broom & dustpan, white vinegar and baking soda.

Create Welcome Cards

A project that can be done on your own, as a family or with a class group. Some ideas to consider:

  • Decorate a card with all the things you love about the Puget Sound region. This can be your own original art or a collage from magazine and web pictures.
  • Write notes of encouragement and practical tips on living in the Puget Sound region.
  • Share your family story. Whether your family has been here for generations or you just got here yourself, let our newest neighbors know that almost all Americans and a whole lot of Washingtonians came from somewhere else, too.

Contact Volunteer Services at (206) 461-3240 to schedule a time to drop-off your do-it-yourself donations.


Both federal and state governments are critically important in refugee resettlement policy. Contact your elected officials and let them know you support refugee resettlement.


JFS works with these non-profit partners to furnish homes for newly resettled individuals and families. If you would like to donate household items or clothing, please contact one of our partners.



Upcoming Events

Volunteer Gleaning

July 23, 2017

Kosher Food Bank

August 2, 2017

Navigating Turbulent Times Counseling Group

August 3, 2017

Navigating Turbulent Times Counseling Group

August 10, 2017

Volunteer Gleaning

August 13, 2017