IRC anticipates welcoming dozens of families in the coming weeks and is exploring new ways to support them. While we prefer housing that is near both public transportation and a grocery store, meeting the needs of a large number of families arriving within a few months means that we will be expanding the geographic scope of our resettlement area. In partnership with faith and civic organizations to co-sponsor families (include link to the HOME info), IRC plans to begin settling families outside of the immediate Charlottesville area. Most of the surrounding communities depend heavily on cars to get around. A donated car not only allows families to shop for groceries, seek medical care, and meet with other service providers, it also gives adults in the family greater access to good-paying jobs to support their families.
To support this effort we are seeking from the community:
- Donated vehicles, especially minivans in running order. Vehicles should be safe and reliable and have recently passed inspection. We ask that all donated cars be inspected within 30 days of donation, to insure there are no surprises shortly after the families receives them. If you have a car that might be suitable, please contact us at [email protected]. We can provide you with all the necessary documentation for tax purposes.
- A 15-passage van or similar size for the IRC to use to drive larger families to and from appointments with various service providers. Unlike many other IRC offices, the IRC in Charlottesville does not have a van, and staff use their personal vehicles to drive families. With many larger families arriving, this can require staff and volunteers in 2-3 vehicles to escort families to appointments in their first days and weeks in the U.S.
- Donated services from mechanics and detailers in the community to help make minor repairs and clean up vehicles to give to clients. IRC can provide a tax receipt for labor at the provider’s standard hourly rate.
- Safe places to park donated vehicles temporarily, ideally within a 10 minute drive of downtown. This could be at a private residence or a business or community building with addition parking and appropriate security. Because it can take some time to get appointments at the DMV to handle the title transfer and registration, we need a safe place to park a donated car in the days between when the donor gives us the vehicle and when we are able to pass it on to a family.
- Volunteers to assist families with obtaining insurance, title and tags. Volunteers need to be approved IRC volunteers (link to application and process), with large blocks of daytime availability to accompany a licensed driver and interpreter, if needed, to the DMV.
Please contact [email protected] for more information regarding any of these opportunities to contribute to our efforts to welcome Afghans and other refugees to Central Virginia. If you would like to learn more about co-sponsorship, you can find more information here and contact us at [email protected].