Neither Easter nor Ramadan slowed the stream of new Afghan Refugee parents and children. We were ready with provisions for Friday’s 20 families comprising 88 refugees of 42 adults and their 46 children. Met by 15 Volunteers, SCM Founder Rita and Translator Khayam, 32 parents with 14 kids came in the Center to receive lots of hygiene essentials, school supplies, computers, sewing machines and surprise Eid Celebration kits for children.
While we offer loads of clothes, when I think of the collections of “hygiene essentials” and the “Donors” (individual, nonprofit and corporate), it floods me with gratitude. This is kindness pouring out week after week because people really care about the plight and needs of the Refugees.
Our essentials for whole families: diapers; underwear; socks; baby wipes, wash, lotion and shampoo; adult body wash and bar soap; feminine sanitary pads; shampoo and conditioner; brushes and combs; toothpaste, toothbrushes and floss; deodorant; razors; reader glasses; nail clippers; cleaning products – bottles of liquid dish and laundry detergent, and cleanser. Sometimes we even have nail polish, cosmetics or jewelry to make the day a little brighter for the women.
This Hygiene Corner bulges with special extras: handmade quilts for the children, fabric “dolls for hope”; a big assortment of school supplies, color books, and often backpacks. Just past this station is a large toy area that includes stuffed animals and books that entertain children while parents get their “toys” – bicycles and helmets, laptops, or sewing machines, notions and fabric, depending on what Donors have sent us.
Committed Donors are Bicycle Rescue for Youth that serves Maple Valley and Issaquah, Covington Kiwanis Club, Sharing Wheels from Everett, Mel Nason’s Holy Spokes and Harvey’s Bike Shop in Lynnwood. Essentials First often helps us with hygiene products and joined in furnishing Eid Celebrations kits. For desperately needed laptops, Starbucks donated generously. Early learning KidsCentre in Seattle has showered us with school supplies and backpacks.
Equally impressive are places of worship who regularly contact us with help. This giving is matched by individuals who surprise us by quietly bringing needed items and gift cards, so we can replenish to meet the needs of all new arrival Afghan Refugees every week.
We can only say Thank You, Thank You to all who give and volunteer. Don’t forget them. And, don’t forget the needs of the Refugees!
~Pamela Van Swearingen, Coordinator