Outreach News

Vashon Afghan Resettlement Team
The Vashon Afghan Resettlement Team formed Fall, 2021 in response to the fall of Afghanistan.  Our group of volunteers comes from the community and a number of island faith groups.  We assist the Refugee Resettlement Project located in Kent that operates under the Episcopal Church.
We gather household items for families settling in south King County.  No families are placed on Vashon because we are too far from basic services. Our household kits have helped Afghanis, as well as refugees from Somalia, Iran, and Iraq. Refugees continue to be settled in our area: we have a thriving diaspora from many countries.
We are grateful to O Space for partnering with us to offer storage space where we assemble the household kits. When our project began, the Unitarians generously allowed us to store and sort items in their Burton building.
As of August 1, VART has provided household items for 9 families. Kits are assembled into five areas: kitchen, household supplies, toiletries, linens, and cleaning supplies. We stretch our donation funds by finding gently used kitchen and household supplies, but the other three areas must be purchased new.  If we buy all items new, a kit costs nearly $1,000.  We have received $5,000 in monetary donations so with resourcefulness we have produced 9 kits.
Once we have a kit or two organized, we deliver them to Kent using the Metro van, a wonderful local resource. We find household items from new and lightly used sources, including estate remainders and from individuals downsizing their household. Ongoing assistance from islanders is needed in three ways:

  1. Volunteer to help collect and organize household kits. We are in need of at least two new volunteers to assemble kits. Volunteers can also accompany the household items in the van to delivery in Kent. Delivery takes a morning and is mostly a ride along with some brief loading/unloading time.  Contact Julia Lakey for more info. jlakey@centurytel.net
  2. Donate to the VART account at Island Lumber.  Donations can be cash, check or by credit card; credit card info can be provided over the phone.
  3. Become a conversation partner to a newly arrived refugee who needs to practice their English. Conversation partners meet weekly with an adult refugee over Zoom.  For more info, contact Kit Bean. kitbean@gmail.com