Ukraine. As I've said before, it's hard to know the best course of action to take to help with the ongoing crisis in Ukraine and Eastern Europe. The needs are great, however, the potential to waste resources or choke already stressed infrastructure is real.
To find some answers, this week, I turned to a fellow quilter and friend for information on Refugee Resettlement. Beth Broadway is President of InterFaith Works in Syracuse. One of the Agencies that reports to Beth is the Center for New Americans, which has been helping refugees for the last forty years. My goal was to learn more about the process, and how quilters (in particular me!) can help.
I thought you would be interested in the conversation as well. Grab a cup of your favorite hot beverage and settle in for a short spell . . .
Some take aways from the conversation with Beth:
- At this time, the US is expecting to bring 100,000 Ukrainian refugees to the US, in many parts of the country
- The refugee vetting process is several layers deep, and quite involved in paperwork before refugees are accepted for entry to the US
- Refugees sometimes only take a small suitcase or backpack of personal items from their home country, so nearly every home furnishing is needed to set up a living space - from cleaning products to furniture.
- Refugee Resettlement Agencies continue to work with refugees after they are established in their new home. Refugees need help with: getting around the community, securing identification, job search, establishing medical relationships, learning language skills. The relationship continues 2-3 years or longer from entry in the US.
- There is probably a Refugee Resettlement Agency within a short drive from your home, any where in the US. The agencies go by many names, however nine National 'parent' organizations can help you contact a local agency to offer assistance. CLICK HERE to learn more and to contact any of the National organizations to be directed to a Refugee Resettlement Agency in your area. Or CLICK HERE to go straight to a map to find an agency near you.
- If you're in central New York and would like to assist, contact Beth's organization, InterFaith Works via their website HERE to help refugees.
Following the recorded comments Beth suggested that I add something to the conversation . . . quilts and hand-made accessories provided to Refugee Resettlement Agencies for Ukrainian resettlement can be any color combination suitable to home decor - not just blue and yellow to match the Ukrainian flag. You probably have some projects that are well underway that are perfectly suitable; no need to start something new . . . unless, of course you want to!
To learn more about the nine national organizations Beth referenced in her comments CLICK HERE. To find an agency near you, click the button below.
Switching gears (a little) I took advantage of a brief moment of sunshine a day or two ago to take a quick photo of the Purple Pinwheel quilt top that has been progressing slowly in my studio over the last few weeks and months. I've added a flowery applique border using Sue Pelland's Leaves Galore templates. I was going for a whimsical clematis-y vine look.
Here's a close-up of a corner. The applique vines are sewn in place, but I'm saving the flowers and leaves to secure after the quilt has been sandwiched.
I'm not quite sure how that part is going to go, but I suspect there may be a lot of twisting and turning involved (no long arm, here). And that's okay!
After my conversation with Beth, I decided that this quilt is going to her organization to welcome a Ukrainian family to our area, so I'd better stay on task. I may be able to dig out a few other goodies to go with it.
It's spring, after all . . . never a better time for new beginnings, even under unimaginable circumstances.
Spring equates to hope, new life, and promise. And that's the best gift that any of us can offer, one act of kindness at a time.