Despite Spring vacations, 16 Volunteers came to FCUMC to help 21 Refugee families. Our great Interpreter, Mohammad, facilitated the busy day of 26 adults and 10 children at the Clothing & Hygiene Center. Including spouses and little ones at home, we provided essentials for 37 adults and their 62 children. A total of 99 new arrival Afghan Refugees served!
It’s relief to give this support to share hope and friendliness. We now know many harrowing stories of unimaginable escape and long journeys from Afghanistan. All Refugees left numerous family members, their lives, identities and possessions behind while facing complete uncertainty.
Our work persists, thanks to wonderful donations – clothes, shoes, jackets, new socks and underwear, hygiene products, children’s quilts, toys, school supplies and even laptops. Sewing machines and bicycles are low. But more offers to replenish our supply of these special items may arrive in time for next Friday, when the Refugees’ holy observance of Ramadan nears the end on May 1st.
Just a quick update on our refugee assistance activities from our volunteer coordinator Pamela:
Just a quick summary of the really busy day yesterday, thanks to 22 Volunteers who stayed part or all of the four hours and pre-post opening. We served 30 Families in all. A total of 77 Refugees came to the Center, 43 adults accompanied by 14 children. Including all the spouses and children who had to stay at home, these families comprise 118 Refugees whose day and necessities we improved!
Our added bicycles, computers and sewing machines with sewing notions and fabric are so helpful for the Refugees. I just hope we continue getting these donations to offer with our core essentials. We gave out 21 bikes with new helmets for Adults and Kids, 10 laptops, and four sewing machines.
Go Team Go! Thank you, Pamela
If you have a sewing machine, sewing supplies, or bicycles you want to donate, please reach out to us so we can coordinate a drop off. Thank you for your continued support!
The concerted commitment of Fairwood Community United Methodist Church and SCM Medical Missions has grown to meet the needs in helping the stream of newly arriving Afghan Refugees. We’ve expanded our response to meet our new neighbors’ long journey getting settled – get a residence, find beds, a few chairs and dinner table with dishes, acquire clothes and basic hygiene essentials, as they also look for jobs absent computers yet. Caring Volunteers meet these brothers and sisters and their tender little ones to ease the way and give hope.
Friday we assisted 21 adult Refugees from 18 families accompanied by 11 cute children. The impact was big since the families represent 35 adults and 48 children. Friday and our week long planning by at least 22 Volunteers paid off. We gave each bags and bags of hygiene items, clothes and shoes, toys, stuffed animals, books, school supplies, colorful hand made quilts for the children, toddler chairs, jewelry for the females, and the best surprise of all, sewing machines, and bicycles with helmets for adults and children! Community giving begets more community giving showing us the humanity out there we’ re all trying to share! As word spreads weekly, more hygiene items appear thanks to anonymous gift cards, other charities, individuals and churches. Somehow we manage to restock, so we ensure Refugees get the basic items their families need.
The appreciation of our visitors leaves heart warming impressions. Parents are grateful to get their family’s many toiletries, diapers and new cotton underwear for everybody. Dads and Moms are touched when we roll up a pretty quilt for each child. Sweet children play at the toy center as we catch their smiles. Toddlers readily reach out and hug the soft, fabric handmade Dolls for Hope. The grand surprises are the bicycles and sewing machines that create some happiness to improve the Refugees’ days ahead.
Also, the Covington Kiwanis Club is adding to their big bicycle delivery on Wednesday. 25 backpacks, many new all weather, fleece lined jackets in black, gray and blue for adults and kids (all sizes), and school supplies! And, Issaquah Women’s Club reached out this weekend to me about a Service project they will do in April for us. I have to find out if UMC Pastor and Council expects us to finish at end of April or wants to extend longer. More Later. Have a good week as you free people from tyrants!! ~Pamela
We received an update on the arrivals of Afghan refugees in Washington State from the office of Sarah Peterson, head of the Office of Refugee & Immigrant Assistance at the Department of Social and Health Services. There are good resource links within this message from them and a video about Washington State’s efforts in assisting the incoming refugees.
We are helping to collect supplies for them and a partial list is on Amazon at https://a.co/hkDPCA3, and we also need new socks for all ages, hygiene supplies, coloring books and crayons, and puzzles for children. Items can be sent to our office at 3806 Whitman Ave. N, Seattle, WA 98103.
We are also in need of funds to help with rent and utility bills for those struggling to meet expenses.
Afghan Arrivals – Since the end of September, Washington has welcomed more than 2,500 Afghan refugees through Operation Allies Welcome, which includes over 130 people through the Washington State Afghan Placement and Assistance initiative. More than 75% of recent arrivals have resettled in King, Snohomish and Pierce counties. Approximately 13% resettled in Spokane, 5% in Clark County, 3% in Benton-Franklin and less than 1% in Whatcom County. Washington is also home to multiple Sponsor Circle groups that together will welcome over 70 people. Sponsor Circles is a community-led, private sponsorship model for welcoming Afghan newcomers to local communities.
Afghan Backgrounder: CORE, the Cultural Orientation Resource Exchange, and IRC recently developed a backgrounder on Afghanistan. This document covers the historical, political and cultural information to support a general understanding of the Afghans arriving in the United States. CORE’s website offers additional information and resources: https://coresourceexchange.org/working-with-afghans/
King County Metro Subsidized Annual Pass – The referral handouts give a brief overview of the subsidized annual pass, as well as information on how to enroll. Once customers are enrolled into the subsidized annual pass, they’re provided with the How-To Guide that lets them know how to use their subsidized annual pass. kingcounty.gov/subsidizedannualpass.
Photo is from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
Yes, snow does fall in the Middle East, but as you can imagine, it has a terrible impact on the refugees in the region still living in tents and other temporary shelters. Heavy snow can crush tents and ruin a family’s possessions, and leave them without shelter in the frigid and wet conditions. This is particularly true of northwest Syria, where snow and heavy rains have caused flooding and damaged roads, water supplies, and shelters across the region.
SCM has a partner in Turkey that can get supplies to northwest Syria and we need your help to get these supplies – blankets, food, medicines, heating oil, etc. We also need to help those affected in Lebanon and Jordan. While snow is not uncommon in the mountainous regions of Lebanon, snow at the coast in towns like Byblos is very rare and disruptive, and they did receive snow there yesterday. Many people in the region are being affected by the cold, snow and rain. Please help us to help them!
Below is a report from one of our super volunteers, Pamela, on her delivery of donations to recently arrived Afghan families. She includes a list of items needed – please note that children’s shoes are really needed!
It was a successful 2022 day all around at the Clothing Center serving Refugees and delivering needed clothing and hygiene essentials to many Afghan Refugees at temporary housing in Federal Way. Thanks to everyone who made this possible today and for the UMC donations that will help us buy many more needed items!
We took a huge number of coats, toddler clothing, handmade blankets, essential hygiene bags, winter hats and scarves, two sewing machines with a bag of Fiskars scissors and sewing notions, and toys that will go to the many newly arrived families.
Joe Meyer and Sean (Rita’s friend who helped drive the toys) offered to be regular drivers for future Friday afternoon deliveries. Beautiful children playing in the lobby came running out to help carry and made our work very worthwhile with their enthusiasm and smiles! The sewing machines, supplies and fabric was very appreciated. Tonight the small temporary housing facility staff will set up the items we sent and prepare for an orderly, fair distribution tomorrow. I think it’s likely that there will be a little something for everyone. How awesome that we finally have a way to help many new arriving Afghans.
I’ll discuss what particular additional needs there are with the Manager for next week, but I expect more coats are needed and children’s shoes. She said tennis shoes for kids in all sizes would be great. We saw a number of kids with no shoes. The Assistant Manager told me they have none. A couple of kids were wearing their dad’s sandals. Here are needed items for Hygiene Bags if anyone asks:
• packages of new underwear for women, men, girls and boys in all sizes; • children’s new tennis shoes; • maxi pads; • hair brushes; • deodorant; • shampoo/conditioner; • razors; • liquid dish detergent; • baby wipes; • small first aid kits; • nail clippers; • Band-Aids; • floss; • chap stick; • cosmetics; • body lotion. • We can use more basic school supplies like spiral notebooks, pencils and pens, crayons, glue sticks. • Other option: gift cards.
My day was topped only by a great email from Jeanne letting me know that she and Joe will donate 2 kids bicycles! And I hear a few others are planning to do a little refurbishing of bikes to donate too.
I’m just pretty overwhelmed at the go power and care of Fairwood Community UMC. I was so glad my daughter, Ingrid, could come to see what your Church has made possible. It’s certainly uplifting to my family, but more importantly to many Afghan Refugees!
I’ll keep you posted and plan to be down next Friday. Stay COVID Super Safe!! Pamela
Thank you so much Pamela for all your efforts!
Please contact SCM if you have items to donate. We also have an Amazon Wish List for some of these items that will be shipped to our office. Click here to see the list and order: https://a.co/hkDPCA3