From Harm to Home
“Have you run across a rice cooker? How about a men’s razor? And shower curtain rings?” Nick, the IRC’s logistics coordinator, asked, looking up from his checklist. These are just a few of the items the IRC provides to newly arrived refugee families; others include: plumped pillows, silverware, a hot meal, shampoo, a kitchen table… the list goes on. The motto of the IRC is ‘from harm to home,’ and there are teams of dedicated staff members and volunteers ensuring that every family has not only a house, but a home.
Refugees come from a variety of different backgrounds, experiences, and living situations, but all are excited to have a safe place to call home. “In orientation it was mentioned that we were given an apartment, and that the apartment would be furnished. But when I came here, I saw many things I was not expecting. Vacuum cleaner, microwave- I didn’t expect those things. I expected basic things- forks, plates, bed sheets. The restroom was inside the apartment and there was a heater on the wall. It wasn’t like that back home. Back home you had a muddy floor, but here you have carpet, so you need the vacuum cleaner,” shared a refugee.
The IRC in Seattle, on average, receives two to three refugee families per week, and they are all given a furnished apartment. Coordinating this requires an immense amount of organization and community support, but the result, giving refugee families a toehold in their new country, is well worth the effort. If you’re interested in coordinating a donation drive, please contact VolunteerSEA@Rescue.org.