There are many ways to make an individual impact and be a force for action and hope to refugee families around the world. Recently, we shared how you can have a direct, meaningful and personal impact on the lives of refugees by joining a distribution trip team. Here, we share more details on what to expect, physical requirements, and how we help to prepare participants for this important work.
A Carry the Future distribution trip typically involves four individuals travelling as a team to a destination where there are large refugee populations, such as in Greece, Serbia, France, Jordan, and currently Texas. Teams take baby carriers, baby beds, baby clothing, blankets, and other forms of aid, hand delivering these to refugee families. Are you thinking of joining one of our distribution trips? Read on.
What is the typical daily schedule of a Carry the Future distribution trip?
Distribution trip teams are supported by our Carry the Future Response Team, a group of experienced volunteers dedicated to supporting teams and also determining daily schedules and itineraries.
Every distribution trip is different. Due to the changing nature of the refugee crisis (for example, higher demand at a location where refugee arrivals have suddenly increased), itineraries can only be determined about a week in advance of a trip – and even then, with needs changing, schedules remain flexible.
Some teams travel between refugee camps and/or community centers, focusing on aid drops and baby carrier fittings. Other teams may stay in one refugee camp or community center the entire time, working on a project, teaching music or art, playing, or just providing an extra pair of hands where help is needed.
What are the physical requirements to participate?
Joining a distribution trip is incredibly rewarding, but it can also be challenging. Before participating, we want to be sure you’re in a good emotional, physical, and psychological place.
As a requirement to participate, we ask our volunteers for a doctor’s clearance to confirm team members can carry 50-pound bags of aid and are emotionally fit. We ask team members to openly communicate with their Team Coordinator regarding their energy levels. As a minimum, volunteers should be prepared to work at least eight hours per day. Schedules can include long days, early mornings and/or long nights.
Is there any free time?
Distribution trips are not vacations. Roughly 90% of the trip time will be spent helping refugees which can be physically and emotionally taxing work. However, team members are always encouraged to use whatever down time they have to rest and recharge, take in the local sights, and enjoy a nice meal with their team.
How do team members prepare for a distribution trip?
Our Response Team has helped to prepare and support over 50 distribution trip teams. Each distribution trip team has a dedicated Trip Engagement Team to offer words of comfort and support at each step along the way. Beforehand, to build a foundation of trust and connection, teams meet virtually in a private Facebook group, where helpful information is posted to get them ready for their trip. Discussion topics are shared and participants are invited to ask questions in an open and candid space. Pre-trip bonding helps teams feel grounded, supported, and ready for the work once they land at their destination.
Want to know more? Click here for a first-hand point of view from a recently returned distribution trip participant.
Unable to travel with Carry the Future, but still want to help? Consider a monthly gift to ensure distribution trip teams can continue providing aid to refugee families.
Written by Melissa Francis