If you are enrolled on a program or are in need of our services, you can reach us at 971-248-0611 during working hours. If you have a caseworker, please contact them directly.
If you are experiencing an emergency, please call 911.
The World Health Organization has now officially recognized the COVID-19 crisis as a pandemic, with more than 1.5M individuals already known to be affected throughout the world, and experts anticipate the numbers will continue to rise.
In times like these, many of the social distinctions that separate us are stripped away, and some are made more visible. We are quickly developing a response to meet the urgent and immediate needs of refugees and immigrants among us, and to continue to provide essential services for those newest to our community.
This page will serve as a place for us to share the most up-to-date information about our operations, events, services, and community needs.
Our office is closed to the public at least until May 31st. In the meantime, we are closely monitoring guidelines from the state about how to safely and effectively perform essential services, in-person and remotely. Our staff will be working to communicate with existing and current clients and to make sure their needs are met in a way that ensures the safety of everyone. See below for a more thorough list of some of our ongoing and adapted services.
While an office closure affects our staff and operations during an already tumultuous season, our biggest concern is for refugees and immigrants who will feel the effects even more acutely.
Already, several of our newest neighbors who had just secured their first job--a huge step toward economic resilience!--have been laid off. Schools are closing and refugee families are facing the added challenge of full-time childcare. Those who are experiencing symptoms of sickness or who are in high risk demographics will be experiencing the tangible effects of isolation.
During this unprecedented season, we are responding to the urgent needs of the refugee and immigrant community with emergency financial assistance to address the most pressing problems. Your gift today will sustain vital services and meet urgent needs of our newest neighbors.
While your role may look different in this season, you are still an essential part of the World Relief community. You can still offer your support by:
Writing notes of encouragement to families experiencing isolation or hardship
Helping with online tutoring under the guidance of one of our teachers
Finding interactive resources online to keep kids engaged while they are home from school.
Responding to urgent needs shared through World Relief Seattle's Facebook page
Making a special gift to sustain vital services and meet urgent needs of our newest neighbors.
If you'd like to help in any of these ways, please email our volunteer coordinator, Angela.
Additionally, donating gift cards can help families make ends meet during a difficult season: Amazon, Target, Safeway, Fred Meyer, and Dollar Tree are most helpful. You can have them sent to our office at "World Relief Seattle c/o Elijah Knepper, 841 Central Ave N Ste 106, Kent, WA 98032. If you would like a receipt for your gift card donation, please include your mailing address in a note!
World Relief is providing food boxes to people in the community affected by unemployment and isolation. Photo credit: Hannah Letinich
Ongoing and adapted services
Aside from our wraparound resettlement and resilience programs, which are continuing despite new challenges, we are addressing even more urgent needs in the community. In partnership with Northwest Harvest, Hillside Church, and local farmers and businesses, we're providing weekly food box pick-up and delivery for families in Kent. For information on getting food support contact Tahmina. For information about volunteering to help distribute food on Wednesdays, contact Angela.
The "job squad" is always hard at work connecting refugee and immigrant workers with the staffing needs of local businesses. Getting that first job is one of the biggest milestones for a newly arrived family as they work toward financial self-sufficiency. In recent weeks, dozens of people who had secured their first job have been laid off or furloughed. With unprecedented national unemployment levels, our employment team is working harder than ever to help job-seekers.
There has been a temporary pause on new refugee arrivals, however those who arrived over the winter are still in need of basic resettlement services as well as additional help navigating systems of support that are harder to access due to office closure. Things like finding a doctor, opening a bank account, or addressing the social and academic needs of kids is now exponentially more challenging for those newest to our community.
We are also continuing to accept a limited number of walk-in asylee and SIV (special immigrant visa) cases. If you have recently gained asylee status or would like to enroll on a program for SIV's, please call 971-248-0611.
English Class, Family Literacy Class, Cultural orientation, & financial literacy
All in-person classes are cancelled until further notice. Some classes are being offered through video chat and we've set up one-on-one tutoring. If you are in need of English or Orientation classes and are not yet connected, contact your caseworker or call 971-248-0611.
Immigration Legal Services
There continue to be important and urgent immigration legal matters; World Relief’s ILS team is committed to helping clients address these needs during the COVID-19 shutdown. Call 971-248-0611 or email the ILS team for information on how to schedule a virtual appointment.
Paradise Parking Plots: Refugee Community Garden
The garden remains open for current gardeners only. For families in small apartments in the Kent-area food desert, access to a garden plot means access to a place to enjoy the fresh air and invest in their own food security. We were able to distribute seeds from Northwest Harvest at a drop-in event in March. Gardeners from 23 different countries will be able harvest first crops as early as the end of April. Updates about the community garden are most readily available at the Paradise Parking Plots Facebook Page.
Services at the Immigration Detention Center
Visits to the Detention Center have been put on hold indefinitely. Volunteers who pray for and write to detainees are encouraged to continue doing so during this time.
The Welcome RV is open and continues to greet newly released detainees, however most of the services are being provided outside under a canopy to comply with social distancing recommendations. We are continuing to provide transportation, temporary housing, backpacks, and travel coordination for those leaving the area.
SEA TRI KAN: Ride for refugee resiliency
This unique, multi-day, cross-state bike tour, done in partnership with World Relief offices in Tri-Cities and Spokane, has been cancelled and replaced with a virtual ride. People interested in training for a challenge and fundraising for the refugee and immigrant community are invited to partcipate--virtually--in the World Refugee Day Century Challenge on June 20, 2020. Historically this event is our biggest fundraiser of the year and riders become fundraisers and advocates for refugees and asylees. The support of the community is more vital than ever.