Groceries are an important necessity when our families first arrive. Since they will not know where their local grocery stores are right away, having groceries already stocked at home for them upon their arrival can be very beneficial. World Relief’s Cooperative agreement with the Department of State requires that the family has one day's additional supply of food (including baby food). Volunteers may choose to purchase these items as a donation for the arriving family (a gift in kind receipt can be provided to the volunteer when they turn in the receipts) or seek reimbursement from World Relief, which will come from the refugee’s resettlement grant.  

Things to keep in mind: 

  • The Grocery and Welcome Meal Checklist can be used to determine what food is appropriate to purchase.

  • If volunteers are donating groceries and welcome meals, they are welcome to purchase items for the family that are not on the list. 

  • If volunteers are purchasing groceries and/or welcome meals and seeking reimbursement from WRS, please only purchase items listed on the Grocery and Welcome Meal Checklist. Also note, reimbursement of these items comes directly from the families initial resettlement grant. 

  • Halal meat is mentioned in the checklist above. Please refer to the next page, Ethnic Supermarkets to see where you can purchase Halal meat. 

  • The amount of food listed in the above checklist will last the family a couple of days. Within the next two days after their arrival, either World Relief or a volunteer will assist the family to sign up for their cash benefits, including food stamps (Cal Fresh).  


Welcome Meal

The family must also be provided with a culturally appropriate ready-to-eat meal upon arrival. If their U.S. Tie (distant relative or friend) is unable to provide a Welcome Meal for the family, World Relief will contact Hospitality volunteers or Good Neighbor Teams who may choose to gift these items for the family or seek reimbursement from World Relief, which will come from the refugee’s initial resettlement grant.  

Things to keep in mind: 

  • Family size and ages

  • Price

  • Most apartments do not have microwaves, therefore the family will be using the oven or stove to heat and reheat their food. 


Delivering groceries and/or welcome meals

If the volunteer is meeting the refugee at the airport and we do not have prior access to the family's apartment, they may simply bring the items with them.

If the volunteer is part of a Good Neighbor Team and already has access to the refugee's home they may deliver the items to the home at their convenience.

Otherwise, the supervising Volunteer Coordinator will contact the volunteer to coordinate delivering the groceries/welcome meal to the family's apartment, the World Relief office or an alternate location. 



After getting to know the family a bit, if you are a Good Neighbor or part of a Good Neighbor Team you many want to host a family in your home for a meal.  For Afghan families some recommendations are veggie pizza (either homemade or ordered) or spaghetti without meat sauce. If you do serve meat of any kind, remember that if the family is Muslim it is crucial that the meat comes from a halal market and never serve pork or alcohol. Hot tea is often appreciated after a meal. For a Slavic family there are no specific food recommendations, although they normally appreciate cooking with onions and garlic. You could offer coffee or tea after a meal.