ST. LOUIS – For decades, the International Institute of St. Louis has assisted refugees in making St. Louis their new home.

Today’s drive supports refugees from Afghanistan, Haiti, the Congo, Cuba, Syria, and others. Last year, the organization helped more than 500 families resettle.

“We see single cases and families up to ten or thirteen even,” said International Institute of St. Louis Director of Community Engagement, Kelly Moore.

From 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, people arrived with bag loads of donations, all of which will be distributed and used in the coming days.

Donations of pillows, sheets, and rugs are most needed for their apartments. Some people purchased and donated items through international institute registries at Target or Walmart.

“(It’s) where they can feel joy when they walk into their apartment. Comforters, blankets, things that make us feel happy to be in our home,” said Moore.

For many seeking help, St. Louis is their first home in the United States.

“These items really help reduce the burden that families face when they’re arriving to St. Louis,” said International Institute of St. Louis Community Support Manager, Carlos Suarez. “It also encourages them and inspires them to know that St. Louis is so welcoming and that they can live in dignity.”

“It’s so important to welcome people into the community and if you’re able to give even a little bit,” said Elizabeth Lee, who donated towels. “While I may not be able to give as much, there’s still something I can do.”

Donations can still be dropped off at the institute or purchased via online registries with Walmart and Target. For more information on how to contribute, click here.