Washtenaw Refugee Welcome

Washtenaw Refugee Welcome (WRW)
WRW is an ecumenical volunteer group of citizens, community, and faith organizations dedicated to identifying and mobilizing community resources to help agencies in welcoming and supporting refugees in Washtenaw County

We live in an historic moment of massive movement of people worldwide. In 2015 alone, 65 million people lost their homes and became refugees. That’s 1 in every 113 people in the world who are in desperate circumstances. Several hundred were resettled in Washtenaw County in 2016.

A year ago, newspaper headlines screamed “Refugee arrivals to skyrocket.” Today we see headlines like “Panic button: refugee arrivals to dry up.”

Whatever the future, refugees who are already here in our community need our help. In the past, new arrivals received eighteen months of government resettlement agency support. Now they get three. In that time they are expected to learn a new language, find a home, enter their children in school, find a job, and become self-sufficient.

But the path to self-sufficiency is filled with unexpected challenges — medical emergencies, transportation problems, limited job opportunities, difficulty meeting monthly expenses, filing tax returns, and navigating the process to obtain required permits and other documents.

The U.S. State Department has designated two local agencies, Samaritas and Jewish Family Services, to resettle incoming refugees. Numerous local congregations and Muslim Social Services formed Washtenaw Refugee Welcome (WRW) to identify and mobilize community resources to help the two agencies in welcoming and supporting refugees in Washtenaw County. Washtenaw Refugee Welcome (WRW) is currently helping more than a dozen local families make this challenging transition to life in a new country.

WRW has many opportunities for volunteers, from donating items to providing services.

SERVICES NEEDED

Some of the services needed are lawyers, bankers, ESL teachers, tutors, social workers, transportation help, bicycle repair, etc. On the WRW website, under the Volunteer tab, you can sign up to volunteer. Once you sign up, you may look for Volunteer Opportunities under the same Volunteer tab.

DONATIONS NEEDED

Also on the website under the “Volunteer Opportunities” are requested donations. Click on the SIGN UP button to see the current list of requested items. WRW does not have storage space, so they only list items as they are needed.  The donations list is often filled quickly and changes often, so please check back if you would like to donate.

CONNECTING WITH THIS MINISTRY

The best place to look for information on WRW is the Washtenaw Refugee Welcome website, but you may also contact the FUMC liaison to WRW, Donna Fowlkes at dmfowlkes@yahoo.com  Requests for donations often appear on the WRW facebook page: Washtenaw Refugee Welcome – WRW.