BELLOWS FALLS — In spite of the restrictions imposed on its fundraising efforts by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Community Asylum Seekers Project (CASP) was able to raise more than $11,000 from its supporters all over the country.
“We ran an online StartSomeGood campaign in July that reached 83 folks all over the country, with roughly 30 percent of our donations coming from out of this area,” Dempster Leech, the campaign's chief bandleader, said in a news release. “It's a testament to peer-to-peer fundraising and our supporters' understanding of how this pandemic is affecting our work that we actually raised more than last year.”
As a result of this year's success, Leech says CASP has committed to taking on two new asylum seekers.
A nonprofit founded in 2016, CASP provides material and moral support to those seeking asylum from violence and poverty in their home countries by finding host families for them, helping with food and other daily needs, assisting them in navigating the asylum claim process, and helping them achieve eventual independence as they proceed through the process.
CASP supports 14 individuals from Mexico, Cuba, and Honduras in the Windham County area.
CASP supporters Dale Kondracki and Alan Fowler created a three-minute video for the project that ran on the StartSomeGood website and featured CASP founder and former executive director Steve Crofter and its new executive director, Kate Paarlberg-Kvam, discussing CASP's mission and vision for the future.
As part of the campaign, a raffle of donated gift certificates was held. Winners were Leda Schientaub, $50 from Woodzels by Wetzels; Francie Marbury, $100 from Village Square Booksellers; and John Bohannon, $200 from Chris Sherwin of Sherwin Art Glass.
Further information about CASP and its work can be founded at caspvt.org.