Refugees arrive in the U.S. needing to regain a sense of safety and belonging. A warm, safe, and furnished home is the first step on that journey. You can ensure that these newcomers arrive to a fully-furnished and equipped home as soon as they step off the plane.
Welcome Teams are groups of friends and neighbors who join together to transform an empty apartment into a home.
How It Works
The first step in creating a Welcome Team is to designate a team coordinator to work with CWS Wilmington and organize the logistics of item collection and move-in. This includes creating a plan for where and how to collect furniture and household items, organizing the move-in team and arranging transportation for deliveries.
Our staff receives a notification 2-3 weeks in advance of each refugee arrival, so the group coordinator should have the logistics planned before knowing the exact date for move-in. We usually schedule groups for a period of time (i.e. an apartment in April) and confirm an exact date 2-3 weeks in advance.
Team Coordinator Sign Up
Each refugee apartment is required to have certain basic furniture and household items, such as enough beds and dishes for each person moving in. Although some items must be new (such as soaps or cleaners), many furnishings can be used.
You can find a general budget and furnishing list for a family of four in our downloadable Apartment Set-Up Guide, along with tips for how to find cheap or free good-quality furniture. You would be amazed at what you can find just by reaching out to your networks!
Welcome Team: Apartment Set-up Guide
Yay! You’ve collected all the items, added some fun extras like curtains and couch pillows, and now you’re ready to move in! Each Welcome Team has 10 days or two full weekends to coordinate a move-in. This will entail organizing a group to do the heavy lifting and transportation for getting furniture to the apartment. The group coordinator will work with CWS Wilmington staff to schedule the move-in and then it’s showtime! After you’ve set up the apartment, give yourselves a pat on the back! You did it!
But don’t forget the groceries: depending on the family’s date of arrival, someone may need to come back to the apartment after a quick shopping trip to drop off culturally-appropriate groceries for their first days in the U.S. We ask that these are put into the apartment a maximum of 48 hours before the family arrives to make sure they have fresh food waiting for them after the long journey.