Wow - what a year it’s been!
First, thank you. We can’t say that enough! When KNITCRATE announced that Butterfly Boxes would be their charity of the year back in January, we were thrilled. But we didn’t really know what to expect. We thought we might see a few items trickle in here or there. We thought subscribers might send one item and call it good.
But you surprised us! We’ve received dozens of items, and most packages have contained multiples. Packages have come from international subscribers. They’ve come with notes telling us that the subscriber was also an immigrant or refugee. They’ve come with items made by both the subscriber and her daughter. They’ve come with your very best work. We are grateful and so honored to be able to share your talents with those who have been arriving in the last few months.
We thought you might want to hear a bit about those who are receiving your gifts. You might be aware that the number of refugees arriving in the US has dropped this year. But some are still arriving, and we’ve had the privilege of being at the airport to greet many of them.
In March we met a 5-year-old boy as he walked off a plane from Somalia to reunite with his mom. She’d had to make the difficult choice to leave him behind when he was just 2 months old, hoping against the odds that she’d be able to bring him at some point.
In April, we greeted a teenage girl who’d been living in a Kenyan refugee camp for more than a decade. She’d lost her entire family to civil war or illness. She arrived in Portland knowing no one but ready to begin a new chapter in her life.
A month later, we witnessed a young Afghani woman’s gleeful joy when she saw her husband for the first time in years. He arrived in Portland just a few weeks before his wife, after having first been resettled in Maryland. They left the airport with smiles and love.
And just last month, we greeted an Iraqi artist whose first 30 days has been spent building her portfolio for a gallery show, all while completing her required cultural orientation classes, improving her English, and learning to cook for her first Thanksgiving.
The welcome bags refugees receive at the airport have become a staple of these arrival stories. Often, our new neighbors come with very little, and they don’t have the essentials we include - towels, toiletries, a snack or two. The Butterfly Boxes provide the necessary items for a more comfortable first night or two, and the opportunity to include a handmade gift sends a clear message that we welcome them to our community and country.
Our weather reporters are telling us to expect a longer, colder, and icier winter than the record-breaking one we had last year. When we hear things like that, our minds turn to ensuring that those who’ve recently arrived - with none of the traditional cold-weather knits like hats, scarves, gloves, and mittens - have what they need to keep warm in their new homes. And our hearts are warmed knowing you all are out there offering your love and talents. We couldn’t do it without you, and we’re so grateful for your support!
PS: Spread your love this holiday season by making something to share! The following will be most useful and appreciated:
Baby Butterfly Boxes
- blankets (no more than 30"x30")
- infant hats
Kid Butterfly Boxes
- dolls or stuffies
Teen and Adult Butterfly Boxes
- home decor
For more information, click here to check out our website!
We’re sharing pictures of our year so you can see faces of a few of our new friends. You can see more pictures of airport arrivals, our monthly community potlucks, and other events we host on our Facebook page - www.facebook.com/butterflyboxespdx
Adrienne & Alysson
Co-founders, Butterfly Boxes
Here are some more pics of some of our favorite moments:
Photo Credit: Ingrid McQuivey Photography