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When President Trump passed an executive order temporarily banning travelers from "terror-prone" countries, Seattle attorney Takao Yamada hurried to the airport.

He was one of the first lawyers on the scene to lend a helping hand to innocent people who might be affected by the order.

"It was chaos," Yamada says. Families waiting on loved ones, panicked. Not knowing if they were stuck in extensive interviews, being sent home, or worse.


No one knew what exactly the order meant or how it was being enforced.

All the disorder made it hard to really help anyone, Yamada says. Without knowing who was coming into the country, where they were coming from, and which kinds of papers they had, well-meaning attorneys were left scrambling.

Photo by Konrad Fiedler/AFP/Getty Images

Yamada got together with some fellow attorneys and had an idea: What if there was a way for us to get all of that information ahead of time?

Any good lawyer knows they're a lot more effective with the proper preparation.

Yamada along with co-founders Greg McLawsen and Tahminda Watson, worked with some software developers to (quickly) create an app.

The app "Airport Lawyer" connects travelers coming into the U.S. with volunteer attorneys who can help them navigate U.S. Customs and Border Protection.

AirportLawyer.org

Using a nationwide network of thousands of volunteers — Yamada said there are hundreds of attorneys in Seattle alone willing to help, free of charge — travelers from abroad can arrange to have a lawyer meet them at the airport when they land.

Sometimes, the lawyers will be prepared with extra papers and documentation to avoid any holdups at Customs and Border Protection. Other times, they'll simply be a calm, informed presence that can keep tabs on the process and communicate with U.S. family members.

Though a federal court temporarily struck down Donald Trump's travel ban, the administration is fighting back. Yamada expects more confusion and chaos as the chips continue to fall.

Here's how you and your loved ones can use Airport Lawyer to help ensure safe and fair travels.

Step 1. Go to AirportLawyer.org and click "Get help now for an arriving immigrant."

Provide as much information as you can on behalf of the traveler, including arrival date, airport, airline and flight number, visa type, and how the attorneys can get in touch with family members on the U.S. side.

Step 2. Once you do that, Airport Lawyer supervisors get notified of the arrival and match you with a volunteer attorney.

All the information is stored on a secure system, where the team will connect you with a volunteer lawyer near your airport (most of the big ones are covered, including Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Denver, Seattle, and Washington, D.C.). If they can match you with an attorney, that person will reach out and help you come up with a plan for arrival.

Step 3. Stick it to Donald Trump.

Arrive safe. Clear Customs. Embrace your family. Show Donald Trump that his bigoted and unconstitutional policies won't stand without a fight.

"It's just been so amazing seeing how many people want to help," Yamada says.

He recalls witnessing many powerful reunions between long-lost relatives, made possible in large part by the hard work of thousands of whip-smart attorneys during their precious free time.

Yamada himself wears several professionals hats, along with volunteering. And, oh yeah, his wife is pregnant. But he makes the time because he knows this is important.

"Most people are just trying to get back here to see their family," he says. That's nothing something Donald Trump should be allowed to take away from us.

All images provided by Bombas

We can all be part of the giving movement

True

We all know that small acts of kindness can turn into something big, but does that apply to something as small as a pair of socks?

Yes, it turns out. More than you might think.

A fresh pair of socks is a simple comfort easily taken for granted for most, but for individuals experiencing homelessness—they are a rare commodity. Currently, more than 500,000 people in the U.S. are experiencing homelessness on any given night. Being unstably housed—whether that’s couch surfing, living on the streets, or somewhere in between—often means rarely taking your shoes off, walking for most if not all of the day, and having little access to laundry facilities. And since shelters are not able to provide pre-worn socks due to hygienic reasons, that very basic need is still not met, even if some help is provided. That’s why socks are the #1 most requested clothing item in shelters.

homelessness, bombasSocks are a simple comfort not everyone has access to

When the founders of Bombas, Dave Heath and Randy Goldberg, discovered this problem, they decided to be part of the solution. Using a One Purchased = One Donated business model, Bombas helps provide not only durable, high-quality socks, but also t-shirts and underwear (the top three most requested clothing items in shelters) to those in need nationwide. These meticulously designed donation products include added features intended to offer comfort, quality, and dignity to those experiencing homelessness.

Over the years, Bombas' mission has grown into an enormous movement, with more than 75 million items donated to date and a focus on providing support and visibility to the organizations and people that empower these donations. These are the incredible individuals who are doing the hard work to support those experiencing —or at risk of—homelessness in their communities every day.

Folks like Shirley Raines, creator of Beauty 2 The Streetz. Every Saturday, Raines and her team help those experiencing homelessness on Skid Row in Los Angeles “feel human” with free makeovers, haircuts, food, gift bags and (thanks to Bombas) fresh socks. 500 pairs, every week.

beauty 2 the streetz, skid row laRaines is out there helping people feel their beautiful best

Or Director of Step Forward David Pinson in Cincinnati, Ohio, who offers Bombas donations to those trying to recover from addiction. Launched in 2009, the Step Forward program encourages participation in community walking/running events in order to build confidence and discipline—two major keys to successful rehabilitation. For each marathon, runners are outfitted with special shirts, shoes—and yes, socks—to help make their goals more achievable.

step forward, helping homelessness, homeless non profitsRunning helps instill a sense of confidence and discipline—two key components of successful recovery

Help even reaches the Front Street Clinic of Juneau, Alaska, where Casey Ploof, APRN, and David Norris, RN give out free healthcare to those experiencing homelessness. Because it rains nearly 200 days a year there, it can be very common for people to get trench foot—a very serious condition that, when left untreated, can require amputation. Casey and Dave can help treat trench foot, but without fresh, clean socks, the condition returns. Luckily, their supply is abundant thanks to Bombas. As Casey shared, “people will walk across town and then walk from the valley just to come here to get more socks.”

step forward clinic, step forward alaska, homelessness alaskaWelcome to wild, beautiful and wet Alaska!

The Bombas Impact Report provides details on Bombas’s mission and is full of similar inspiring stories that show how the biggest acts of kindness can come from even the smallest packages. Since its inception in 2013, the company has built a network of over 3,500 Giving Partners in all 50 states, including shelters, nonprofits and community organizations dedicated to supporting our neighbors who are experiencing- or at risk- of homelessness.

Their success has proven that, yes, a simple pair of socks can be a helping hand, an important conversation starter and a link to humanity.

You can also be a part of the solution. Learn more and find the complete Bombas Impact Report by clicking here.

via UNSW

This article originally appeared on 07.10.21


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