KENT, Wash. - Vandals broke into a Kent warehouse and ruined donations meant for Afghan refugees settling in Washington state.
The donations, which were part of FOX 13 Seattle’s "Washington Welcome" fundraising drive, included pillows, blankets, and dishes.
"They took knives to pillows, ripped out bedding and sheets and kind of threw them all over the place," said Elijah Knepper with World Relief Seattle – the organization that distributes the items.
The vandals also sprayed fire extinguishers and urinated on walls.
The destruction was limited to about 10% of items at that location, which was being used to store donations that were originally dropped off at Kent City Hall. Space in the warehouse, a former Goodwill, was donated to World Relief after their usual storage facility filled up.
"Due to just the vast amounts of donations that we’ve been receiving from the FOX 13 drive and other people in the community, we’ve had to shift and connect with other community partners to find solutions for storage."
Knepper said it does not appear the vandalism was targeted.
"But it is tragic that people just broke things for the sake of it," he said.
After the destruction, World Relief Seattle reached out for help. Local Afghans teamed up with a veterans’ group called The Mission Continues to clean up the space, sort the items, and bring what was salvageable to a new location.
"It was a really cool thing to see," Knepper said.
While World Relief Seattle is not in need of additional donations, gift cards can be purchased for refugees to shop on their own. Find more information here.
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