At a Beverage & Banter as the Afghanistan evacuation was starting several people asked how they could help. I volunteered to research and get the information. I found out that Refugee Response and Salaam Cleveland are coordinating the reception and resettlement. Refugee Response is a long term North East organization and has previously worked with 1st Unitarian in Akron and UU Society helping Nepalese and Bhutanese refugees.
I approached our Board of Trustees about this issue and they have approved a motion to support helping the Afghan refugees who will be coming to North East Ohio along with help from the Social Justice Café (thank you Ron Prosek) and members of Our Sisters’ Keepers.
Currently the Afghanis are being held up in processing with the measles outbreak and the craziness of bureaucracy but below are the things they will need once they arrive. PLEASE start gathering your items but hold off on bringing them into the Church. There is little storage space both at East Shore and at the agencies who will be working with them. It is anticipated that the Afghan refugees will receive little to none of aid usually available from any governmental sources so it will be up to us to help them.
The first thing those arriving will need is basic household goods – pots & pans, small appliances (ex: vacuums, toasters, microwaves, blenders), dishes, flatware (forks, knives, spoons), cooking utensils and any of the many little parts and pieces it takes to furnish a place to live.
They will need towels, sheets, blankets and curtains. If you are going to donate these items please make sure they are freshly cleaned. Bundling sheet sets together so they do not get separated would be a good thing. Same thing for towels, hand towels and washcloths. And please wrap them all in clear plastic so that they will be protected from dust and dirt while going from your home to their new home but easy to identify.
Winter clothing will be needed but I do not have any information on the ages and gender of those arriving at this time. As soon as I do I will put it in the Beacon and on the East Shore listserve.
Refugee Response and Salaam Cleveland are coordinating the collection of the donations but only have a SMALL garage on the West Side where they are storing the item until the Afghanis arrive. So again, please hold off bringing your items in until further notice.
If you have any questions please contact me and I will get answers as quickly as possible.