“Please can you help my brother get out of Afghanistan?” my close friend Mr. A. earnestly pleaded. “He will be targeted and killed because he worked for the U.S. military.”
Another close friend of my wife’s said, “I can’t reach my family because the satellites have been bombed. I don’t know when I will ever see them again!”
It has been heart-breaking for all of us to watch Afghanistan fall to the Taliban. We feel helpless, but while many remain trapped, thousands have been evacuated. Right now 37,000 new Afghan refugees are coming to 46 states in the USA. Find out how many are coming to your state here. We can help, right here and right now!
During the last 20 years while America was at war in Afghanistan, the United States received 97,000 individuals from Afghanistan primarily in 10 specific states. According to AP News the new "Afghan evacuees are not currently eligible for food stamps, cash assistance through the Temporary Assistance for Needy Families program for low income families, Medicaid or other traditional refugee services that are funded through the Department of Health and Human Services. Currently, each Afghan evacuee is slated to receive $1,225 to help with rent, furniture and food and provide a small amount of pocket money." That means they are going to need our extra help.
Our team of volunteers at Reach the World Next Door have been helping Afghan refugees in Houston for four years. It has been such a joy to get to know many lovely parents and their precious children. You can join us in spirit wherever you are. You can help care for newly arriving refugees and be a true friend to them during this difficult time of transition and worry for their family members back in their country. Here are ways you can make a difference:
2) Do an internet search for "refugee resettlement agency" for your nearest metro area. Look at the websites to see what volunteer options they have. Many of the agencies provide excellent training for volunteers. World Relief is one of the agencies that we recommend as it has a Christian base and especially welcomes Christians to volunteer with them. All agencies work with all refugees regardless of religious background. See which one best fits you. You will find many here: Office of Refugee Resettlement. UNHCR Resettlement Partners.
3) Train with Reach the World Next Door. Learn how to be a true friend to a refugee, caring holistically. Discover how to share your faith in an appropriate way, giving them an opportunity to know God more deeply and personally. The training can be done individually online or in a small group. It will take you step-by-step into effective cross-cultural caring. Learn more and get started at reachtheworldnextdoor.com/training/online
4) Help Set up Apartments; Receive Refugees from the Airport; Give Ongoing Support. You can prepare apartments for new arrivals and help them adjust and thrive in this new environment. Invite your family and church members to join you. Learn as a group and then serve as a group. Do an internet search for these options in your area.
5) Volunteer to Tutor ESL or U.S. Civics or Be a Pro Bono Attorney. You can do much of this by Zoom. Local refugee agencies will show you where you can do this.
6) Refugee Youth Mentoring. Be an ongoing support to a young person trying to navigate a new culture while staying true to their family's values. Do an internet search in your area with this specific phrase.
7) Children's Programs. Consider starting one of the Club Ministries at an apartment complex to help a whole group of young people. We have done this in Houston in a way that respects differences in beliefs between Seventh-day Adventists and Muslims, focusing publicly on what we hold in common and sharing differences privately and respectfully in homes at other times. See what happened in Kansas City when Anna reached out to Nepali refugee children.
9) Donate Items that refugees need. Look at the various refugee resettlement agencies to see what they need. Often they have their "wish lists" online so you can easily purchase items.
10) Promote these needs for others to know at Church or on Social Media. Share this page and about the things you find locally with your family, friends, and church members.
11) Give to help Afghans
Tangibly help Afghans in Houston. Donate at asapministries.org/give. Under "Designation," select "Other" and type "Afghani Refugee Humanitarian Assistance-Texas" or call ASAP Ministries at 269-471-3026.