Brunswick officials this week launched a GoFundMe campaign to help 60 asylum-seeking families expected to move to town this summer.

The campaign launched Monday and so far has raised about $1,000. The goal is $100,000. In 2019, when 20 asylum-seeking families moved to Brunswick, the town raised about $20,000 for them through GoFundMe.

“The donations are going to assist with the main things the families are going to need to start their life here in Brunswick,” said Deb Crocker, the town’s director of human services. “It’s the essential items like cleaning supplies, kitchen products, bathroom setups, sheets, blankets, pots, pans — the basic necessities to make life livable.”

Suggested donation tiers include $50 for cleaning supplies for a family, $200 for a bedroom set and $1,500 for an entire apartment setup, including furniture.

Officials are also seeking volunteers to help the families move and drive them to medical and social service appointments. Volunteers are also needed for mentorship, such as helping family members learn English and taking family trips to local parks and playgrounds.

“These types of volunteers are going to be essential once families move in,” Crocker said. “Volunteers can help them shop, give them rides to medical appointments, mentor the families to help learn English. … Just showing them around so they can acclimate to their new home.”


Social service organizations like Portland-based Family Promise and the Midcoast New Mainers Group will also help the families make the transition. And the town is hiring a human services coordinator who will assist the families.

Crocker said the town is looking for “as many volunteers as we can round up” to help out.

“We’re all going to try to work together,” she said. “This is a group project.”

The new families, who fled violence and persecution in African countries like Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, are set to move to Brunswick Landing starting in the summer. The school district anticipates about 100 new students will arrive and be enrolled. The district has four teachers, a cultural broker/language facilitator and a coordinator who specialize in multilingual students. The budget for the upcoming school year includes an additional teacher, instructional strategist and two educational technicians who also specialize in multilingual students.

The GoFundMe campaign can be found on the town website. The campaign includes a link to volunteer signups. The suggested donation tiers for the fundraiser are:

• $50 – Cleaning essentials kit for one family.
• $100 – Household essentials kit for one family
• $150 – Bathroom setup for one family.
• $200 – Bedroom setup for one family.
• $300 – Kitchen setup for one family.
• $500 – Kitchen and bathroom setup for one family.
• $800 – All household kits and room setup for one family.
• $1,500 – Entire apartment set-up for one family (including basic furniture).

Donations are tax-deductible and can also be sent in the form of a check by writing “Brunswick Community Support Fund” in the memo line and mailing it to the Town of Brunswick’s Finance Department at 85 Union St.

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