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How people in Northeast Wisconsin can assist Afghan refugees

You can help from Northeast Wisconsin, too
Afghan refugees
Posted at 1:06 PM, Aug 25, 2021

As some area non-profits prepare to assist Afghan refugees if they find themselves in Northeast Wisconsin, organization leaders say there are a few ways the public can help too.

Thousands of people in Afghanistan are trying to flee the country since the Taliban seized power on Aug. 16. The White House said Wednesday morning the U.S. military and coalition flights evacuated about 19,000 people over the past 24 hours.

“When people are coming into the country, they don’t have anything. So they’re going to need everything that you can think of," said Adan Hurre, a COMSA associate.

COMSA is a resource center that provides services for refugees in Northeast Wisconsin. The non-profit offers English and citizenship classes to help the immigrant community navigate life in another country.

"Just imagine that you are picked up from Wisconsin and you are dropped off in China, or somewhere else, and you didn't have any resources with you," Hurre said. "It would be that difficult. They need housing. They need clothing. They need utensils. They need beds. They need furniture. They need everything that makes life possible for us to live."

COMSA partners with World Relief Fox Valley, one of the state-approved refugee resettlement affiliate agencies in Wisconsin, on a refugee task force.

World Relief Fox Valley has a wish list on its website of needed items like bedding, kitchen supplies, personal hygiene and cleaning supplies that people can buy and donate. Items can be purchased on Target or Amazon and are shipped directly to their office before being distributed to refugees in the community.

"Those are great items that we know we will use as we receive people," said Tami McLaughlin, World Relief Fox Valley director.

McLaughlin said they haven't received any Afghan refugees at this point, but said the non-profit's immigration legal service team is working with the Fox Valley Afghan community to see if they can find legal ways to prioritize getting their families out of the country.

"We're hoping at least that we can welcome their families as they are hopefully evacuated out of Afghanistan," McLaughlin said.

Until then, it's the resources these organizations need the most.

"People can play a huge part to help organizations like us - World Relief organization, Catholic Charities - to financially help these organizations and with their time, so we can all assist the new refugees," Hurre said.

COMSA and World Relief Fox Valley are also accepting volunteers. People can find more information below: