Circles of Welcome is an initiative of our national Resettlement Agency, Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS) to partner together with community and faith groups to welcome new arrivals.
Circles are organized by a community group, and choose a leader or two who are the main points of contact with LSC staff. Circles consist of about 10-12 core members who commit to assisting with the “long welcome” and building relationships at the initial arrival and over the next 6 months - year. Each Circle is matched with a family (in some cases, this might be an individual or group of individuals).
If your faith or community group has already formed a Circle of Welcome, please coordinate with your Circle. For other people interested in volunteering, if you haven’t already communicated to me what you are interested in helping with, please click the link below!
Thank you for the huge outpouring of donations! Right now, we have more donations than storage space, so we are asking to please hold temporarily on donations as we work out appropriate storage space.
What we do need is volunteers who are able to load and unload truckloads of donations to get them into a storage space. In particular, we need people to load and unload a truck in the next few days, and sort donations. If you are able, please contact:
I'll be in touch once we get a handle on what items we still need (likely furniture and household items).
Any monetary donations would be much appreciated, so we can use them for what is most needed at the moment. Donations should go to the LSC website, link below: https://lscarolinas.net/donate-to-refugee-services/ Use the drop-down menu to choose Refugee Services in NC, and then in the comment put Asheville – APA. That should earmark funds. (APA stands for Afghan Placement and Assistance. It’s a new program just for this emergency response to the Afghan evacuation.)
In January and February of 2022, the greater Asheville area will become part of history as we welcome new Americans into our community who were part of the evacuation from Afghanistan last year. Over several weeks, almost 100 individuals (almost half of whom are under 18) will arrive here, sponsored by Lutheran Services of the Carolinas Refugee and Immigrant Services. While LSC has been resettling refugees since the 1970s, the WNC office just opened in late December to participate in the Afghan Placement and Assistance (APA) program which was launched by the U.S. State Department in September 2021, following the largest non-combatant evacuation in American military history.
The Afghans who are coming have been housed on military bases since the evacuation. All have been vetted by the State Department and Homeland Security. Many worked with the US government in Afghanistan and even risked their lives in doing so. They have received medical check-ups and a full range of vaccinations, including for COVID. They will not have credit history, but they will have guaranteed rent payments for up to six months, during which time they will be working with a case manager and an employment specialist to integrate fully into the community and become self-sufficient.