Want To Help Out Refugees in Vermont

Written by admin on Nov 20, 2015 in - No Comments
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Want to Help Out Refugees in Vermont?

With news of developments in the Syrian refugee crisis pouring in daily, the plight of refugees around the world has been on many minds lately. Many of us long to help these highly vulnerable people in some tangible, meaningful way. Well, it turns out that we can because there are several thousand refugees living right in our back yard here in Vermont. This November, Church at the Well is continuing its tradition of holding a winter outerwear and household goods donation drive to benefit refugees in our city and state.

When refugees arrive at the Burlington airport—the Ellis Island of Vermont—many have never seen snow, and they own little more than the clothes on their back. The Vermont Refugee Resettlement Program (VRRP) arranges for an apartment, and Vermonters’ donations of furniture, blankets, and household goods mean that an arriving family doesn’t have to face an entirely empty apartment. Within six months of arrival, 95% of refugees in Vermont are working a job, and, despite the cold, most who settle in Vermont remain here because they have found a safe and accepting community.

How many refugees live in our area, and where do they come from? Since 1989, Vermont has resettled at least 6300 refugees from Bosnia, Nepal, Bhutan, Somalia, the Congo, Sudan, Rwanda, Burundi, and Iraq—mostly in Chittenden County. Approximately 300 arrive each year, most having lived in refugee camps for a long time (on average, 15 years). They have come to Vermont via these camps fleeing persecution or war, and many have lost businesses, homes, and livelihoods. Some have also lost relatives and friends.

Theogene Mahoro, a Rwandan refugee who recently joined the Vermont Goat Collaborative at Pine Island Farm in Colchester, is one of three refugees raising goats to meet his community's demand for the meat. Photo by ANGELA EVANCIE VPR

Theogene Mahoro, a Rwandan refugee who recently joined the Vermont Goat Collaborative at Pine Island Farm in Colchester, is one of three refugees raising goats to meet his community’s demand for the meat. Photo by ANGELA EVANCIE VPR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to contribute to the wellbeing of arriving refugees, we will be collecting the following items (used or new) through November 29th:

Winter outwear (jackets, gloves, hats, scarves, boots, kids snow pants)

Pots, pans, and cooking utensils (think large families)

Household goods and school supplies such as dish soap, shampoo, toothbrushes and toothpaste, notebooks, envelopes, and pencils and pens.

An easy way to participate is to take home a labeled bag on Sunday, fill it with the items on the label, and return it by Nov. 29th. Thanks to those who have already donated items! If you have questions, contact Callie Twiss (cmegargl@icloud.com) or Abby Carroll (carroll.abigail@gmail.com).

Thank you for joining us in extending God’s love,

Callie & Abby

He defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow, and he loves the foreigner residing among you, giving them food and clothing. And you are to love those who are foreigners, for you yourselves were foreigners in Egypt. –Deuteronomy 10: 18-19

For future reference, the VRRP accepts donations of many other items, a list of which you can access on their website. They also welcome volunteers.

Special Thanks to Angela Evancie of VPR for permission to use the photo included in this post. Check out her article “Goat Local? Meat For Refugees, And The Rest Of Us