Butterfly Boxes began as a way to recognize and say "welcome" to the thousands of refugees who have historically landed in Oregon each year. These newest of Oregonians come from around the globe, and often arrive with few of the basic necessities or home comforts we take for granted. Butterfly Boxes seeks to bridge that gap, with airport welcome bags, made by volunteers and delivered to the airport by our partners at Catholic Charities. These bags are filled with basic necessities like toiletries and towels, comfort items like stuffed animals and dolls, and organizational tools like calendars and folders to help settle into life in Oregon. The items in these bags are generously donated by people all over the country, and bags are packed and organized by our hard working volunteers.
Much about this year has made doing the work that we do extremely challenging. Starting in March, the Covid-19 pandemic not only stopped all but a very small handful of refugee arrivals, it also closed access to our storage space and made gathering in volunteer groups impossible. As such, we have been quiet for much of 2020. But though we may be quiet, we are not still, and we are cooking up plans to close out this year on the best note we possibly can.
What does that mean for you, our amazing community that has helped us give welcome bags to nearly 900 refugee arrivals in Oregon? You, who have joined us at potluck dinners and airport arrivals and in your own communities showing our neighbors how glad we are that they are here? You, who have answered every call and blown us away with your responses to all of our "Will anyone join us??" requests? It means that while things may still look different for a while, there is light at the end of this tunnel, and we will continue to find ways for you all to join us in this work. Please visit our "Go Shopping" page for information about donations we are currently accepting. And follow us on Facebook and Instagram (@butterflyboxespdx) and sign up for our newsletter for all of the latest news from us.
Whether through bags given at the airport, over a shared meal (we will share a meal again!), or supporting the people providing direct services, the heart of Butterfly Boxes will always be a simple, "Welcome. We're glad you're here."