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Bozeman community comes together to pack kits for refugees headed to Missoula

refugee support bozeman.jpg
Posted at 11:27 AM, Feb 20, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-20 13:27:10-05

People lined up and unloaded their cars outside Pilgrim Church in Bozeman as volunteers inside packed boxes full of goods headed to Missoula for around 250 refugees coming to Montana.

“They saran wrapped and loaded on to our van and driven to Missoula where they go into storage, so when a refugee family arrives in Missoula they are able to set up their home,” said Volunteer Coordinator Shelly Betey.

The donations have been piling up at locations across Bozeman for the last month.

“Every day there would just be a mountain of stuff,” said graduate student Maury Weigant.

Teams of volunteers package the items and load them onto a U-Haul headed for Missoula. 

“Just helping people, [with] supplies, volunteering, and all the test kits,” said Weigant.

Marty Albini, who organizes the event, says seeing the amount of support from the community is inspiring.

“It's inspiring, because I mean we get to see first hand just how generous people are around here,” said Albini.

For Shelly, her inspiration was her kids.

“I'm a mom and I can't imagine having to flee my country, with the clothes on my back with my children trying to keep them safe,” she said.

The event brought together parents and even a group who you might not expect to see on a Saturday morning.

“We’re a bunch of college students who were excited to help out and be able to give back to our community and give back to the refugees coming from out of country,” says MSU student Ben Hounthausen.

Hounthausen says no matter our differences we can come together for a common goal.

“All the churches coming together for a single purpose,” says Hounthausen.