Welcome Teams

Thank you for your interest in welcoming your newest neighbors to the Triangle! 

Check out the tabs below to learn more about what a Welcome Team does and why they are a critical component of welcoming refugees into their new homes.

If you’re ready to sign up, fill out the form below and we will contact you!

A Welcome Team is a group of people who furnish a refugee family’s apartment and stock it with groceries before the family arrives in North Carolina.  A Welcome Team can be a congregation, a service club, a neighborhood association, or any type of group that has the capacity and desire to do a service project that benefits newly-arrived refugees.

As a Welcome Team, you have the honor of creating one of the first experiences of hospitality and welcome that a refugee will encounter when they arrive in the Triangle.  Not only do Welcome Teams ensure that each refugee finds a safe and furnished place to live when they get to their new community, but they also save critical financial resources for each family and individual.

The first step in creating a Welcome Team is to designate a group coordinator to work with CWS Durham and organize the logistics of 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 move-in day.

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. 

CWS Durham has  resources and tips on how to organize storage, collection, and transportation in our downloadable Welcome Team Guide.

Please contact Sina Naseri at snaseri@cwsglobal.org if you are interested in becoming a group coordinator.

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 Welcome Team 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!

You will also need to figure out how to store items ahead of move-in day. Here are some things that other groups have done:

  • Used half of a garage (in this case, the person parked on the street for a couple of weeks until the items were gone)
  • Dedicated part of a classroom in their worship space to storage for a month leading up to the furnishing
  • Asked furniture donors to hold items until move-in day, then went from house to house in a pick-up truck/U-haul to pick them up

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 one full weekend 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 Durham 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.

Learn more about Welcome Teams in our downloadable Welcome Team Guide, and email Sina at snaseri@cwsglobal.org to start a Welcome Team with your congregation or community group!

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