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Hello again to everyone! Thank you all so much for everything you've been doing to help the Afghan arrivals. Truly, we couldn't do it without you and all of the community support.
Arrivals update: LSC Asheville received 87 people in 6 weeks, with our last arrival February 17. Some cities and agencies are planning to receive a few more Afghan evacuees, but it is very unlikely that we will have more arrivals. Some of the 87 people have moved away to be with family and friends, so we have 69 here now with Lutheran Services.
If you've talked to any of us, or any of the Circles of Welcome, you know this has been a massive effort and continues to be, as we move from constant airport pick-ups, food, and temporary shelter, to getting people enrolled in ESL, kids in school, adults into job programs, and all the myriad other steps of building a new life. Of course, food and looking for permanent housing are still ongoing, and I want to especially thank the many volunteers who are keeping people fed.
Volunteer and Donation NeedsTransportation: We've been using Sign-Up Genius for transportation to Friday Prayers at Asheville Islamic Center and I am trying out adding other transportation needs. There are some "one-off" transportation needs that come up, sometimes without much notice, so if you are interested, please bookmark the link here and check back often! Any driver should either have submitted a volunteer paperwork packet to me, OR be part of a Circle of Welcome. We are working on many transportation options, but support from volunteers is so crucial to help everyone get to where they need to be. These few weeks there are lots of appointments as everyone is getting scheduled for medical check-ups, ESL, Food Stamps/Medicaid, getting documentation, and so on.
Donations: We are also using Sign-Up Genius to list donations that we need. Right now it is mostly gift cards to help with groceries and other goods, but we'll also be updating it as needs change often. Please see the link for details. We are not accepting any clothes at this time.
Housing This is the big one! I sent out an email a couple weeks ago about our housing needs, if you want me to forward it to you let me know. One specific need is for an accessible (first-floor or lift, no stairs) rental unit, with a landlord willing to rent to refugees (no credit, likely no pay stubs).
Phone savvy: Are you someone who feels comfortable with setting up smartphones (ideally, used phones and budget phone carriers) and wants to spend some one-on-one time with Afghans who need to get their US number working? Please email me for more info!
Storage space: We've been looking into storage space, particularly for furniture. Right now we cannot accept more furniture if it needs to be stored, so if you know of a storage unit or storage space that we could access regularly, ideally close to downtown Asheville or a short drive, please reach out to me!
Trucks or van drivers to move furniture: When we ARE able to move furniture, we need a couple more people with a truck or a van who can help move large items.
Thank you! Amy, Laura and the rest of the LSC team