Outreach work with Afghan Refugees

Vashon Afghan Resettlement Team (VART)
Holy Spirit’s Outreach Committee, working with other island faith groups, is responding to the needs of Afghan Refugees settling in the Seattle area.  Called the Vashon Afghan Resettlement Team (VART), the team is working with the Diocese of Olympia’s Refugee Resettlement Office and islanders to help Afghan families create their new homes. VART activities will continue into 2022.
The Resettlement Office is currently seeing about 4 families or couples arriving weekly for settlement in South King County, a pattern expected for the next few months.  While Vashon’s location makes us too far away from services and resources, we can make their new life easier in the following ways:

  1. Help round up items for families to begin living in apartments.  The diocese had provided a list of supplies with categories of kitchen, toiletries, cleaning supplies, household supplies and linens. We can look over the list to think of duplicates we have in our homes/storage.  We can use one group of items to select things at a local store where we shop. We could work with others to round up all the items in one category. Another alternative is to donate cash or by credit card to the VART account at Island Lumber. Donations should be made during business hours, when the bookkeeper is available.   Other household items needed…small desks, bedside tables, table lamps, tea kettles, electric kettles, throw pillows and larger rugs (since they typically eat gathered around a large rug). VART has limited storage so contact Julia about these items. Participants can turn in items for the household kit in the narthex at Holy Spirit, marking off what they obtained. Team members can also pick up kit items at our homes.
  2. Parishioners can volunteer to tutor adult refugees in English.  They participate in class once weekly and more practice is invaluable.  Tutors work on Zoom so it’s very convenient—no travel arrangements!  Practice is also needed to prepare for job interviews.

Contact Julia Lakey jlakey@centurytel.net for pickup of large items.
A printed list of those items that comprise the household kits is available in the narthex.

To sign up for tutoring, contact Kit Bean kitbean@gmail.com

VART members: Kit Bean, Marian Brischle, and Julia Lakey