Welcome Baskets for Refugee Families

Through established refugee resettlement agencies, I provide “welcome baskets” for refugee households, made of handmade items from “makers” across the U.S. who want to express welcome to these households.

If you are interested in contributing, discussing further, or have questions, please contact me!

And please share with other “makers,” for them to contact me directly! Or if you’re someone who is just “handy,” I have a ton of ideas, just not enough time to do them all.

Please contact me using the CONTACT button at the top of this page.


This project supplies “welcome baskets” of handmade items to approx. 40 refugee households annually that fall into two categories: 1. Aghan refugees (male and female Afghan military members and government workers for the previous government - and their families) who will permanently settle in various locations nationwide, and 2. approximately 170 refugees annually (translating roughly to 20-25 families) from various locations – right now mostly from Burma and Democratic Republic of Congo – who will permanently settle in New Bern, NC.

Many of the refugee families come with only the clothing they had been wearing for days and possibly a backpack of personal items. Some receive donations of emergency/hygiene supplies for immediate needs. Other refugee families might arrive with no more than a suitcase or bag of belongings that they collected while dwelling for 10+/- years in refugee camps. Most are leaving behind the personal and household items that had meaning to them or were passed down through their families or were handmade by loved ones. Once they are no longer transient and can conveniently receive nice household goods, the “welcome basket” is designed to make each family feel welcome with a basket of handmade things from a variety of people and locations in the US.


  1. Whether you make things that are appropriate for households, or are appropriate for a particular gender and/or age, it’s all great: many refugees come as families, with diverse members, ranging among men, women, children from newborns to teenagers, and grandparents.
  2. You are welcome to contribute one thing, or x number of things, or however many things you are comfortable contributing…and I will include one (or whatever is appropriate) in each basket.
  3. I would love for them to see that they are receiving things from all over the U.S., so please do include your packaging/branding, and if you are so inclined, a note or printout with each item with a welcome message (and instructions for your item if applicable).
  4. I ask that we please avoid any thing or packaging that is political or religious, references alcohol, or anything else that may be controversial.
  5. The items will be mailed to me (or I can meet locally for a handoff), and I will assemble the baskets. Please contact me for my mailing address (in coastal North Carolina). Depending on the refugees’ final locations, I will either be mailing these baskets/boxes, or driving to deliver.

In thanks for your contribution:

Quarterly I will thank all contributors in a Facebook post, with contributors’ product and purchase info, and will conduct a random drawing for one of the contributing “makers” to win a raffle. The raffle prize will include some pottery I have made and some local handmade things that I will buy for this purpose (none of the donated goods). Each maker who sent donations during the preceding quarter will be represented by a single ticket with a number generated upon receipt of donations. I will use a random number generator to determine the winner.

Annually I put a “small business” Facebook post together in the fall, and invite other small businesses to advertise themselves in the comments. I pay for advertising and share the post with a variety of organizations for them to share on their own pages, and the post also gets seen by each small business commenter’s followers, as well. Last year’s post: https://www.facebook.com/StellaNCWorks/posts/4784322134988678

In January donation tax documents will be provided.

What can be donated?

Anything handmade! Think of any thing that would be nice in a household, or nice for a person to own.

This is a list of ideas, but if you make something outside the list, that’s great! And if you don’t already make something but are “handy,” I have ideas and tutorials!

Sewn items:

Bag/tote to put the handmade items in, that the family can later use for grocery shopping, etc. - ideally at least 8x5x10tall

Men’s ties (let me know if you’d like a pattern)

Children’s teddy bear

Fleece hats, scarves, mittens

Fabric napkins – sets of 4+/-

Table runner

Fabric pillow cover (if you send the pillow cover for a size commonly found at Walmart, I will buy the pillow)

Zippered pouches

Drink coasters – sets of 4+/-

Embroidered or cross-stitched items

Rag rugs

Pillow cases

Throw blankets

Microwavable heating pads / handwarmers filled w/ cherry pits/rice/flax seed – please include instructions/safety

Roll-up checker board + fabric checkers and chess pieces



hats, scarves, mittens

kitchen wash/scrub cloths



Wall art (if you send a painting or drawing, I will buy the frame for it)

Anything printed from your art: prints, stickers, postcards, etc.


Pottery: mugs, bowls, small dishes, soap dishes, etc.

Stained glass sun catchers



Shower steamers

Chapstick / lip balm / salves



Children’s toys

Wood slice drink coasters

Small cutting board/serving board

Turned bowl


Resin / acrylic / cut plexiglass:

Alphabet letters for children

Acrylic board for children with alphabet inscribed, for practice learning language

Drink coasters


Food items: **food items can only be accepted from established businesses that already sell the item; and items should be non-perishable, or with an expiration date of not less than several months from the time of donation


Hot sauce