What is NOVA RAFT?

Northern Virginia Resettling Afghan Families Together (RAFT) is a grassroots coalition of neighbors committed to supporting newly arrived Afghan families as they join our Northern Virginia community. Our current primary focus is attending to the emergency crisis of housing for families. We do this by providing donated furniture as requested by families. Many volunteers build personal relationships with families. From these friendships, we’ve been able to support other needs such as school registration, job placement, driver’s license support, etc. 

I’ve completed the furniture donation form. What should I do next?

Thank you! We ask for your patience. You’ll be contacted by our inventory managers as we need your donation. We match each family’s needs with specific donations. This means your donation goes to immediate good use, and the family gets what they need. Sometimes this means that your furniture will be picked up within a week, and other times it can take a few weeks until we find the perfect new home for your items. 

If you have a specific timeframe, please let us know, and we’ll do our best to accommodate your timeline. In order to speed up our delivery of your furniture, send a picture of the furniture to furniture@novaraft.org. Please be sure it is clean and in good order. Please vacuum and clean rugs, clean furniture, and be sure that couches are stain-free. 

Can I bring my child/friends/others to a home set up? 

Yes, AND please be mindful of ages/personalities that would fit well for what we do. We quickly move an entire household of furniture, often into occupied smaller spaces where families have been awaiting furniture and further support. We need heavy lifters, decor specialists and kind folks who can hold elevators. Many talents make for a great set-up! Above all, sensitivity to a refugee’s journey to their new home is paramount. 

I have completed the volunteer Google form. What happens next?

Our volunteer coordinator will review your availability and interest and find a need to match you with. As of February 2022, our greatest needs are for movers and inventory management. Find a day and time that works for you via our SignUp Genius

If you’re interested in other opportunities, it may be some time before we connect you to a need. Please reach out to raftvolunteers@gmail.com, and we will do our best to respond.

I want to work directly with families, maybe driving them to appointments. How do I do that?

The best way to do this is to participate first in a home set up. You’ll meet the family and hear ways they would like to be supported. We encourage you to join a set up team and build a relationship. Our hope is to build our capacity to connect families and volunteers interested in providing support, and we will be in touch as needs arise. 

I have gently used clothes. Can I donate them to NOVA RAFT?

As of February 2022, we have paused our clothing donations. If you’re able to hold onto items, we hope to restart donations soon. Here are clothing items we often need:

  • All sizes, ages, and genders in excellent laundered condition, with no stains or rips.
  • Appropriate for the current season, indoor or outdoor leisure and casual wear, including coats, hats, and shoes. No suits.
  • Modest clothes, including loose-fitting tops and pants. Tunics are especially appreciated.
  • Children’s shoes in good condition.