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Utah company forgoes holiday bonus to help Afghan refugees

Posted at 8:56 PM, Nov 16, 2021

A Salt Lake City company is giving its holiday bonus this season to Afghan refugees, who are brand new to Utah and in desperate need of everything.

“Everybody was pretty stoked to do it. We took that money we would have spent on gifts for employees for Christmas and as a group, we shopped for the best deals we could find to get items for refugees,” said Jordan Wright, CEO of Atomic Financial.

Without hesitation, more than 70 employees at Atomic Financial decided to celebrate the company’s success this year by taking their holiday bonus and giving it away.

Wright has long understood the magic of giving. He says growing up, he’ll never forget a local family in need he helped on Christmas Eve.

“We took presents from under the Christmas tree. I was maybe 8 at the time. I can still remember the look on the kid’s face when we gave it to him,” said Wright.

When he pitched the idea to his employees, everyone wanted in.

These holiday bonuses equal tens of thousands of dollars’ worth of aid to help incoming refugees.

Wright says they worked with the Utah Muslim Civic League and JustServe.org to identify the needs and coordinate the efforts.

The refugees continue to arrive in waves, which is why Wright says they’ve only done about a third of the holiday shopping, so they can help more people as they arrive.

That giving spirit is contagious. Jordan says the Wasatch Innovation Network helped orchestrate an even bigger initiative, with 14 other companies joining the effort to give back.

“The new arrivals coming in now will continue throughout the holidays, so we’re not going to have any holiday time off this year,” said Aden Batar, the director of migration and refugee services for Catholic Community Services.

Batar says between now and the end of the year, they expect at least 100 more arrivals.

“They don’t have all the basic needs, and so we need all the help we can get these families as they start a new life here in Utah. The response from our community has been so generous — whenever we ask for support, they always come through very well,” said Batar.

Atomic Financial has also made a commitment to hire 5 refugees before the end of January 2022. They plan to hold a resume workshop as well.

If you want to give back, you can contact Catholic Community Services by calling (801) 977-9119 or visiting their website.