The Welcome Tent: Interfaith Coalition Supporting Refugees
The Mission: Welcome Tent is a collaborative interfaith coalition working together to address the needs of Afghan refugees (and refugees in general) arriving in our community. We are working together as partners, across faiths & denominations, to provide supplies, education, and support to help these refugees resettle in our community safely and successfully.
The Need: As of late October 2021, we have roughly 160 Afghan refugees who are here now in Arizona, with about 1,500 expected to arrive soon. These people are coming from war-torn Afghanistan with little to no belongings. Most have never traveled away from home, have suffered the trauma of leaving their home, have no family in the US, and do not speak English. These refugees are receiving some help from the US government, from the AZ government, and from other, larger organizations. Even so, there are gaps in what these organizations can provide. The Welcome Tent is striving to fill these gaps with food and household goods, essential services, and long-term community connectivity.
Our Work: Our coalition began mobilizing volunteers and reached out to the major refugee organizations in the state in order to understand what was needed, what to prioritize, and where we could be of most service. Together we agreed on a phased approach:
First, to collect and distribute household supplies and food that families need in their first 30-60 days in Arizona.
Second, to identify the most needed services for families that will help them find healthcare, grief and mental health counseling, transportation, childcare and jobs.
Third, to plan welcome events for refugee families which will help our new neighbors make connections and feel welcomed.
These phases, though organized linearly, will overlap in the months ahead. We’ve already donated thousands of dollars of supplies to refugee families arriving in our communities. Clergy Leadership Team, Steering Committee: