In July and August, following the takeover of Afghanistan by the Taliban, more than 124,000 Afghan refugees were evacuated to the United States. Through Operation Allies Refuge, the U.S. military is coordinating care until the refugees can be resettled into more permanent accommodations.
Government agencies, non-profit organizations, and faith communities also are coming to the aid of these displaced people. Your church may be one of those helping “the least of these”.
Genito Church in Powhatan County focused on the needs of refugee children, collecting clothes, diapers, and wipes. The items were provided to Fort Pickett in Nottoway County, which has more than 7,000 evacuees. Fort Lee in Prince George County also is housing Afghans.
New Hanover Church coordinated a drive for blankets. On September 22, they delivered nearly 700 twin, full, and baby-sized blankets to Marine Corps Base Quantico in Prince William County. Quantico is housing up to 5,000 Afghans.
Once they leave military bases, some Afghans will go to Massanetta Springs Camp and Conference Center in Harrisonburg which, through a partnership with Church World Service, has provided short-term housing for refugees in the past. Your congregation can support Massanetta through donations to fund meals and housing space. Other ways to assist include serving meals and donating hygiene, cleaning, kitchen, and clothing items.
The International Rescue Committee (IRC) offers additional ways to help Afghans in Virginia. These include donating funds and in-kind items to the Charlottesville or Richmond IRC offices, sponsoring a family, and volunteering.