Indianapolis refugee group gets boost from local fundraising

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. -- A non-profit dedicated to bringing refugees to the Indianapolis area is seeing a rise in donations following the President's executive order on immigration.

Exodus Refugee Immigration says it has been hearing from community members daily, who have offered support and donations.

On Friday, Wildwood Market in Fountain Square held an all-day fundraiser in its store. All profits went to the group and customers made donations to a tip jar, which was overflowing by 4:30 p.m.

"We want to support the community and let people know what’s going on and where needs are," owner Craig Sanders said.

Another local company, United State of Indiana, has designed a "Everyone is Welcome" shirt which will be sold throughout February. Proceeds from the shirt, as well as several others the apparel company makes, will be donated to Exodus Refugee.

"The agility that small businesses have to do stuff like this is one of the greatest things about small businesses," owner Graham Brown said.

Brown said his company already has about a dozen shirts that benefit local non-profits, so this new one was a no brainer.

"It’s kind of something that we’ve always built into the business model and then when something like this happens, we usually try to make an extra effort and do something special," Brown said.

Elizabeth Standiford, with Exodus Refugee, said the support and donations are welcome, especially given the group's need to support refugees who are already in the area.

"It just helps us be strong and keep going, and then we can tell our clients too, you really are welcome here, we’ve had people call and tell us you’re welcome here," Standiford said.

The non-profit is in a holding pattern as legal battles continue over the President's order. It had planned to expand to Bloomington this year, but those plans are now also on hold.

"We still have clients, a thousand clients that we’ve welcomed in the last year, and we’re still committed to continuing to offer services to them," Standiford said.

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