The project was approved immediately, and we started to organize, creating a flyer and an Amazon Wish List with fry pans, pots, knife sets, utensils to smaller items like timers.
On the first day, 115 items were purchased and in only 5 days all 500 items were taken so we increased our numbers to 70 kits. The response was amazing, in just one week over 700 items were purchased, a value of over $11,000.
After waiting a week for shipping, a Kit Assembly “Party” unpacked, sorted, and assembled 140 “Community of Character” shopping bags (2 bags per kit) and loaded them into 3 vehicles, everything was delivered to the IRC, in less than 3 weeks.
MANY THANKS TO ALL WHO PURCHASED THESE GIFTS FOR THESE REFUGEES WHO LEFT EVERYTHING TO FIND A BETTER LIFE!
Thanks to groups who helped get the word out: Pleasanton Community of Character Collaborative, Lynnewood United Methodist Church, Hively, The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, PTown Life Newsletter, AVHS Global Studies Club, PUSD Newsletter, Pleasanton Military Families, Pleasanton Chamber of Commerce, Granada HS Human Rights Club, Valley Montessori School and Livermore Sanitation, who provided a dumpster for the boxes.
Here is an amazing story from Dena Webb, who volunteered her address for shipping.
"The Amazon delivery trucks come by a couple times each day and stay quite a while due to the volume of items. On Friday I saw the delivery man just standing there. I opened the door and I could tell he was wanting to know what on earth was happening. I explained I was the temporary storage location for a collection drive for Afghan Refugees.
"He was so humble then proceeded to tell me he is from Afghanistan and came to the U.S. as a refugee with his family in 2003. He said he benefited from this same program I was helping with. His family got a kitchen kit and other kits to help them start their new life here. He thanked me for all we are doing to help and wanted me to pass on his gratitude to everyone involved.
"I was in tears talking with him. I asked how his family is doing and if he has family still in Afghanistan. He said his family here is well. He lives in Tracy. He said he still has aunts, uncles and cousins in Afghanistan and currently they are safe. I told him I was so grateful to meet him and it is a joy to be able to serve and help as refugees are arriving. I shared with him that there are so many people who have jumped at the opportunity to help."
Note: If you’d like to help Afghan refugees, links to the IRC are posted on www.JustServe.org. Many other ways to give back and help in your community are also posted there. God will lift us as we lift others.