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Helping Afghan Refugees as They Begin to Arrive in Madison

11/15/2021 03:48:33 PM


In mid-August, over the span of several days, thousands of refugees landed at Fort McCoy and hundreds of people reached out to help. With input from members of the local Afghan American community (former refugees themselves), Jewish Social Services of Madison (JSS) and Open Doors for Refugees will work to resettle and support them as they arrive in Madison. Open Doors is also planning a winter clothing drive to support the people being held at Fort McCoy, and working with the legal team at the Catholic Multicultural Center to help people file for “humanitarian parole” visas for family members to come here.

With the help of many TBE volunteers, JSS and Open Doors recently set up their 56th apartment, one of the largest to date, for an Afghan family of six (see pictures here).

Becca Schwartz, JSS resettlement director, notes that in addition to the 50 refugees that JSS had agreed to resettle in the coming year, they will be resettling 75 more Afghan evacuees. They currently have to turn away large Afghan families (7–9 members) for resettlement, so if you or someone you know has a large property at an affordable rate, please let her know.

There are many volunteer opportunities coming up for helping refugees. Open Doors lists a number of opportunities in its October newsletter, including furniture warehouse co-manager, donation pickup and move-in volunteer co-organizer, ESL co-leader, winter clothing drive organizer, and bike outfitters.

If you would like to help those currently staying at Ft. McCoy, Team Rubicon, a veteran-run emergency-response nonprofit, has Amazon wish lists set up for several of the processing centers, including Ft. McCoy. This helps them provide exactly what is needed for Afghan guests while they are there.

December 2, 2021 28 Kislev 5782