Lewinsville Presbyterian Church is a Matthew 25 congregation of the Presbyterian Church USA, which means we are called to actively engage the world around us and act boldly and compassionately to serve people who are hungry, oppressed, imprisoned, or poor.
In light of this call the Lewinsville Refugee Resettlement Team (RRT) has been established to support refugees resettling in the Northern Virginia area following difficult or traumatic events abroad.
We have assembled the information below to provide the congregation with an understanding of how they can support this effort. This team will often be attempting to address the specific needs of a particular family or individual. At other times, we will be aligning support for broader groups or communities.
Points of Contact
If you have questions or comments for this team, please reach out to these points of contact:
- Betty Douglass — firstname.lastname@example.org
- Rob Hunter — email@example.com
- Pastor Layne Brubaker — firstname.lastname@example.org
The RRT has entered into a partnership with Lutheran Social Services and will be matched with a new refugee family in the near future. We are actively collecting items from the congregation to set up the family’s apartment.
If you wish to donate or purchase items on our list, please sign-up to do so via Sign Up Genius.
Donated items should be brought to the Toddler Room near the Nursery on the lower level of the church. Contact Betty Douglass with any questions.
Refugee Support Resources
Places to Shop
The following retailers and outlets will afford you an opportunity to purchase needed items in an economical manner.
Unique Thrift Store
The Unique Thrift Store is a large and diverse thrift store located in Merrifield that offers inexpensive clothing, housewares, toys, books, backpacks, small appliances, small furniture and more. Availability changes daily. The website does not show items available. Not all items are in excellent or good condition, but a lot is. You have to be selective.
Address: 2956 Gallows Road, Falls Church VA 22042
Goodwill Retail Store
The Goodwill retail store is another thrift store option, with a main focus on clothing, some housewares, furniture, and footwear such as shoes and boots. Items are well arranged to find gender, age, and type of clothing. Very inexpensive.
Address: 9960 Main St., Fairfax VA 22031
Target.com allows you to shop for lower cost pots and pans, tableware, kitchen utensils, small appliances, lamps, bed/bath and kitchen linens, clothing, “small space” living room furniture, toys, books and clothing, diapers, & strollers.
Target will allow you to ship goods purchased online directly to refugee homes.
Walmart is another well-known shopping outlet that has many of the same products that you will find at Target. Walmart will also allow you to ship goods purchased online directly to refugee homes.
Amazon.com works with several relief agencies to supply the most crucial items from their wish lists. These are generally intended for the broad population of refugee families in the area, not necessarily LPC’s specific families.
Contact Pat Matheson for information on wish lists that contain specific needs.
Amazon Smile, is a simple way to support your favorite charitable organization when you shop, at no additional cost. Amazon donates a small percentage of the purchase price to the charitable organization designated by the customer. Lutheran Social Services is registered to participate. If interested in supporting LSS this way, view the “How to Sign Up” details.
Many relief organizations have been overwhelmed with donations or offers of clothing, furniture, and household items, and do not have storage capacity for most categories of gifts. Some accept items purchased from their wish lists at Amazon or Walmart and delivered to them, which they can tailor to what’s needed immediately.
The following organizations accept certain in-kind gifts which meet their criteria. Please see their website for specific details.
NoVA RAFT (Resettling Afghan Families Together) accepts furniture and has movers to come to your house and take them to a recipient family. They also accept electronics (TV, laptop, smart phones), but they must meet very specific criteria indicated on the website. You submit pictures of the items, which must be in excellent condition, and then negotiate a pick up date for furniture based on when a family is ready to receive.
Share of McLean
While SHARE’s clientele is the broader community, their website says: “Share is supporting local groups who are furnishing apartments for Afghan refugees. As of May 2022, the most requested items are small sofas, mattresses and box springs, dining room sets, dressers or chest of drawers, end tables, coffee tables, and lamps.
If you are interested in donating furniture, you will need to submit a request to Share and wait for them to schedule pick up. Read further for specific instructions on their website.
Phone: (703) 229-1414
Catholic Relief Services of Arlington County
The Catholic Relief Services of Arlington County has a mobile response center that brings personal hygiene, household cleaning supplies, and baby items to poverty stricken communities.
They say: “We’re currently collecting for the resettlement needs of the Afghan refugees as well as our existing pantries. Your donation would be greatly appreciated.” See website for list of items needed. They also accept donated cars. To donate your car, call (844) 527-2232.
Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area
The Lutheran Social Services of the National Capital Area has published wish lists that indicates their high-priority needs. Items may be delivered to an address of your choice.
Additional Relief Efforts
Following the recent transition of power within Afghanistan, many Afghans that remain inside the country, especially children, are suffering badly from malnutrition and inadequate clothing, shelter, and health care.
Organizations that have worked for decades inside Afghanistan, through local Afghan staff and some expatriates, need cash donations. Foodstuffs are provided through the UN’s World Food Program, but they have major costs for staff, transport, storage, facilities, and logistics.
Two well reputed organizations with decades of experience inside Afghanistan include:
President Biden has announced that the United States will welcome 100,000 Ukrainian refugees who were forced to flee their country following Russia’s attack on Ukraine. If you are interested in supporting relief efforts, support is needed for both those displaced inside Ukraine and in the general region as well as for those who arrive in the United States.
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance
Presbyterian Disaster Assistance (PDA) is assisting refugees and displaced families still in Ukraine and the surrounding region. PDA’s work is often done through mission partners in the affected areas of the world. PDA is in contact with Reformed churches in Ukraine and the surrounding region.
In the coming weeks and months, PDA anticipates that their response will include both financial and technical assistance, as the network of faith communities providing humanitarian assistance grows. Currently, funds are being used for emergency humanitarian aid such as food items, shelter, medicines, diapers, hygiene items, etc.
You may donate directly to Presbyterian Disaster Assistance here: https://pda.pcusa.org/situation/ukraine/.
Lutheran Immigration Relief Service
The Lutheran Immigration Relief Service (LIRS) has decades-long experience in refugee relief and resettlement and is preparing to receive and assist the new flow of refugees to the U.S.
Their program “Neighbors in Need: Ukraine” will help provide essential support for newly arrived Ukrainian families, including emergency medical care, temporary housing, financial support for basic necessities, and other immediate needs.
If you would like to provide assistance through LIRS, you may donate here: https://www.lirs.org/ukrainefund.
Recent Congregational Efforts
Partnership with Immanuel Presbyterian Church
The RRT partnered with Immanuel Presbyterian Church to help a family matched with them through Lutheran Social Services. Lewinsville contributed to the cost of a car, paid for a year’s worth of car insurance, and helped the family begin to establish credit.
Partnership with Immigrant Refugee Outreach Center (IROC)
IROC connected us with a recently resettled Afghan family in Maryland who needed particular items for their home and well-being. Through the congregation’s generosity, we collected household items, clothing, food, and furniture that we delivered to the family. We also collected money that we gave them in the form of grocery gift cards.
In partnership with NOVA RAFT and Immanuel Presbyterian Church, Lewinsville also helped pay for and distribute food boxes to over 30 recently settled Afghan families in the Northern Virginia area.
To immediately impact Afghan refugees arriving in winter, the RRT sponsored an all-church effort in the fall of 2021 that resulted in the donation of over 200 coats in new or excellent-condition for women, men, and children.
LPC’s Refugee Resettlement Team
- Betty Douglass — team leader
- Connie Church — funds manager
- Donald Lu
- Douglas Smith — technology operations
- Harriet Hopkins — community resources
- Jack Calhoun — Immanuel PC liaison
- Khosrow Zamani
- Layne Brubaker — staff
- Pat Matheson — researcher
- Phil Church — refugee consultant
- Rob Hunter — team co-leader, meeting recorder
- Siobhan Grayson – social worker