Sacramento Food Bank & Family Services (SFBFS) is committed to serving individuals and families in need, offering a safe space for hope to grow, among neighbors that value every human experience. We are here to connect people to services and partner in problem solving. SFBFS, in partnership with the Diocese of Sacramento, began offering Refugee Resettlement Services in February 2015. Under a contract and close collaboration with the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), Migration and Refugee Services (MRS) Office, SFBFS welcomed, oriented and resettled 341 newcomers to our community from January 2015 - September 2017 and expect to serve an additional 200 more by September 30, 2018.

Refugees are individuals who have fled their countries of origin and who meet the United Nations’ criteria of having a well-founded fear of persecution for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. There are an estimate of 64.5 million people currently forcibly displaced worldwide and less than 1% are able to earn the United Nations designation of refugee and even less are able to successfully be resettled in a new country. Each year the President of the United States authorizes the admission of a certain number of refugees into the country, with 84,995 arriving in 2015-2016, 39,000 of whom were Muslim. The overall arrival numbers to the United States have continued to drop in the most recent year, but Sacramento continues to be impacted by a large number of Afghan Special Immigrant Visa holders (SIVs) desiring to resettle in our region. SIVs are issued to those that worked for the U.S. military, embassy or government agency, many as translators, security personnel, drivers and cultural brokers. SIVs are highly educated and well-trained, often speaking multiple languages. They are legal permanent residents upon arrival in the United States and can apply for citizenship after five years of living in the U.S.

USCCB is one of nine national agencies that contracts with the United States State Department, Office of Refugee Resettlement, resettling 30% of all refugees that arrive in the U.S. annually. SFBFS is the smallest of five resettlement agencies in Sacramento serving refugees, resettled 206 individuals in Federal Fiscal Year (FFY) 2017 (October 1, 2016 - September 30, 2017). Other agencies and their impact numbers are listed below:

Of the total 5,293 refugees and SIVs that arrived in Sacramento from October 1, 2016 - September 30, 2017, over 75% were Afghan SIV holders and their families. Sacramento is the #1 impacted county in the United States, with #2 being San Diego with 2,600 arrivals during FFY 2017.

Refugees, having suffered great loss, including loss of their homes, livelihoods, possessions and often times families, need assistance starting over in a new country. Their initial needs include food, clothing, shelter, employment, English as a Second Language and orientation to a new community and culture.

SFBFS plans each family's first 90 days after arrival including furnishing appropriate housing, receiving the family at the airport and providing all of the essentials for the family such as food, clothing and household needs. SFBFS also connects each family to valuable resources, assists with signing up for all applicable benefits including CalFresh, enrolling in English as a Second Language classes, job placement, training programs, scheduling medical appointments, adjusting to life in the U.S., registering children for school and much more.

For questions about Refugee Resettlement Services, please call (916) 456-1980.

Click here for the step by step process for refugee resettlement from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Updated Executive Order Documents

Additional Resources


Many items are needed to support newly arriving refugee families. Consider donating a Welcome Home Basket! This is a fun and easy way to give back to refugee families arriving in Sacramento.

NOTICE: All pick ups of furniture and household item donations are suspended until further notice. Unfortunately due to the current federal policy, refugee arrivals have been drastically slowed and we do not have any arrivals coming right now.