If you’re like us, you’ve been following the humanitarian crisis in Afghanistan, as tens of thousands of refugees attempt to flee for their lives in fear of Taliban rule after the terrorist group regained control of the majority of the country and its capital, Kabul. Women and girls dread the return of severe laws that deny them of their human rights. Interpreters who bravely served alongside American soldiers in combat are in grave danger of reprisals from the Taliban.
It’s heartbreaking. Infuriating, even. There’s much to be said about the U.S. withdrawal after a 20-year occupation and the mass evacuations of refugees with special immigrant visas (SIVs) from the airport in Kabul. But what we want to know right now is how to help.
Many nonprofit agencies are scrambling to transport and resettle refugees who often have no money, no food and nowhere to stay once they’ve reached U.S. soil. Here are several aid groups in Texas that are asking for the public’s support.
Dallas-based nonprofit Refugee Services of Texas (RST) reports that an estimated 30,000 Afghans may be resettled in the United States in the coming weeks, and many will be temporarily housed at Fort Bliss in El Paso. RST announced that it’s working to help settle 574 Afghans in Texas over the next few weeks across its service centers, including in Dallas and Fort Worth.
RST welcomes monetary donations online, in-kind donations, advocacy, and in-person or virtual volunteers. Register online for volunteer orientation and training and lend your support by participating in one of the nonprofit’s top volunteer opportunities:
-Apartment setups: Shop for household items and groceries and set up an apartment as a new home for an arriving refugee family.
-Create your own Welcome Team to help provide refugee families with a support network as they adjust to their new lives in Texas.
-Airport pickups: Welcome a new family at the airport and provide them with a warm meal their first day in Dallas.
-More opportunities include teaching English (teaching experience is preferred but not required), cultural orientation classes, and training on the use of our public transportation system.
For in-kind donations, contact your local RST office (Dallas: 214/821-4883; Fort Worth: 817/413-3772) to find out which goods are of the highest need or shop the Amazon wish list for Dallas or Fort Worth. Follow RST’s ongoing efforts online @refugeeservicesoftexas and facebook.com/refugeeservicesoftexas.
North Texas Giving Day Soccer Festival
On Saturday, September 25, join RSTX at its first-ever North Texas Giving Day Soccer Festival at the UTA intramural fields. Get in the game as a soccer player, or come to cheer the players on and enjoy snow cones, music, mini-soccer clinics, Dallas FC tour truck games, arts and crafts, and STEM kits from the Perot Museum. $25 registration fee per player includes festival T-shirt and lunch. $25 to sponsor a refugee player. The pay-to-play option is for 18+ while all the kids’ activities are free.
-Watch a video recording of LIRS’s webinar from Tuesday, August 24 about the situation on the ground in Kabul, LIRS’s advocacy efforts, and tangible ways to support our Afghan neighbors.
-Donate online to the LIRS’s Neighbors in Need: Afghan Allies Fund. Your gift helps provide food, housing assistance, clothing and other basic needs as Afghan families await the official services available to them.
-Volunteer to help to resettle refugees in Fort Worth. LIRS needs volunteers for airport pick-ups, apartment set-ups, and preparing and bringing meals. Register online to volunteer.
-Sign up for alerts to advocate to elected leaders and your representatives in Congress.
Learn more about their efforts online at @lirsorg and facebook.com/lirsorg.
More nonprofits supporting Afghans in crisis:
–UNHCR, The United National Refugee Agency
–International Rescue Committee
–Islamic Relief USA
–CharityNavigator.org has curated its own list of highly-rated nonprofits providing protection and assistance to the Afghan people, specifically catering to childhood poverty and refugee aid.
Know of other organizations doing good work or have ideas on how to help? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image courtesy Refugee Services of Texas, Inc.