A Successful Refugee Donations Drive

Written by admin on May 03, 2023 in - No Comments

A Successful Refugee Donations Drive – Thanks to all who participated!

Recently, there has been an uptick in refugees settled in Vermont. Our ministry partner, USCRI-VT (formerly the Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program) works with refugees from the moment they arrive, meeting them at the airport and bringing them to an apartment secured and furnished in advance of the arrivals. When refugees come, they typically come with nothing other than a few clothes. In April, Church at the Well held a donations drive to help supply kitchen and bedding items needed to furnish apartments for incoming refugee families. Your response was generous, and the drive was a tremendous success. We were able to donate 5 ½ car-fulls of donated items!

During the month of April, we had the privilege of hearing from Hannah Rose, USCRI’VT’s
Community Partnership Program Manager, who kindly shared during our Sunday morning worship gathering about the challenges Refugees and New Americans face when they arrive and how USCRI-VT helps meet their needs.

She shared with us some surprising facts:

-New arrivals to Vermont, on average, have been warehoused in a refugee camp for 17 years.

-Only 1% or less of the refugees in these camps ever get out.

-Refugees have resettled in Vermont from a number of countries, including Afghanistan, Burma, Burundi, Congo, Iran, Iraq, Kosovo, Nepal, Russia, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, Ukraine, and Vietnam.

-There are currently 246 Afghans resettled in Vermont.

We also learned more about the work of USCRI-VT, which not only finds and furnishes the initial housing of incoming refugees, but provides English classes, helps refugees apply for healthcare, offers career support, and connects refugees with host families and refugee youth with mentors, among other services.

Church at the Well volunteers Jenn Ayers and Meg Andersen sorting donations at USCRI-VT.

Hannah invited us to pray for refugees entering Vermont—especially for housing to open up, which is extremely tight. She also shared a few ways folks who are interested in volunteering can do so, such as tutoring, driving refugees to appointments, serving as a host friend, organizing donations, helping set up apartments, or offering administrative support. Additionally, there is an ongoing need for donated furniture, linens, and kitchen and bathroom supplies—new or gently used.

To learn more about volunteering, you can sign up for an online volunteer orientation or
contact Dee Dee at volunteer@uscri.org. Donation needs are frequently updated on USCRI-VT’s facebook page.