Alexa was nervous about this week’s refugee apartment set up, she couldn’t sleep at night thinking about it. The moving company that had previously helped us wasn’t available, and there was an Afghani family of six arriving this week. KindWorks didn’t want to turn away the opportunity to set up an apartment for them, so Alexa, who’s heading up our effort, decided to drive the 16 foot Budget truck herself. She and two teens collected furniture from home to home – sofas from one place, bunk beds from another – drove an hour to Landover, MD, while fasting in 100 degree temperatures. A team of us was waiting to help unload and turn the bare apartment into an inviting home.
KindWorks, a nonprofit that I’ve had the privilege of helping lead since we started as MoverMoms almost ten years ago, has been setting up apartments for refugee families for the past several months. We just get a few days notice from the resettlement agency that a refugee family is about to arrive, and we get to work reaching out to our 800+ membership to see who may have an extra sofa, spare cutlery or a rug to share. A sign up genius logs the contributions; people drop off their wares; we collect larger furniture by truck; and a team of KindWorkers gathers at the apartment to vacuum carpets, line shelves, sort donations, reassemble furniture, and decorate a home. The transformation that happens in just a few hours is truly overwhelming. See for yourself.
There are toys and books for the kids, a pantry full of food and specialty items for traditional cooking, cleaning supplies and toiletries, curtains and artwork – and a home cooked meal from the family’s region waiting for them in the fridge. This time it’s ghormeh sabzi, a Persian stew with sautéed fresh herbs seasoned with dried fenugreek leaves, cooked with red beans and turmeric seasoned beef, served over white rice.
Our new neighbors should be arriving any minute.
Welcome (to your new) home, dear friends.
Photo: Saanya Ali