Soon after the announcement by the State Department of a Global Authorized Departure due to the COVID-19 pandemic the Junior League of Washington contacted the Association of American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) with a proposition. The Junior League’s chief fundraising rummage sale, Tossed & Found, was cancelled because of the pandemic, leaving them with a warehouse filled with goods. They offered them free to any foreign affairs family evacuated on short notice and living out of suitcases.
It was a fortuitous match. AAFSW is celebrating its 60th year of supporting Foreign Service families. The
AAFSW Evacuee Support Network has been helping evacuated families since 1984; this was to be the Junior League’s 28th year for Tossed & Found. Together we could furnish families with kitchen and other household items, bikes, toys, books, and clothes for all sizes and ages.
Due to State Department privacy policies, AAFSW has had to rely on families finding the Network through the Family Liaison Office. No one contacted us until Jenny Kocher, who monitors the social media and who is also the AAFSW Foreign Born Spouse co-chair, found a Facebook site for evacuees and those who wish to help. Bingo. We were in business.
Junior League member Kelly Hunter, herself the daughter of State Department employees and the granddaughter of a Foreign Service Officer, and her very busy and organized committee have welcomed more than 130 families to their Crystal City warehouse. Evacuees have come away with sacks of much needed goods to help them survive this uncertain period. Families keep coming; AAFSW and the Junior League of Washington keep helping them.
Ann La Porta
Chair of the AAFSW Evacuee Support Network since 1984 with time off for foreign assignments