Here are ways you can help incoming Afghani refugees
The International Institute of St. Louis has put together the needs Afghani refugees will have settling in St. Louis.
1) Donate to frontline organizations here in St. Louis.
International Institute of St. Louis – serving populations from all around the world in the St. Louis area since 1919. As the only refugee resettlement agency in the St. Louis region, IISTL on average serves 7,500 individuals on an annual basis. With deep cuts to the refugee resettlement program over the past several years, IISTL is working on building capacity in order to serve those who come to St. Louis and are in the most need. You can help by sharing current job openings. Not able to donate monetarily? Organize a donation drive for some of our most needed items. Or host a fundraising event or donation drive.
Oasis International Ministries (314-535-3800) & House of Goods Baitulman (314-833-3300) both serve critical roles in providing goods and services to newly arrived refugees. Along with monetary donations, they both accept and distribute donated furniture and household items to refugees to start their new lives here in St. Louis. IISTL utilizes help from both organizations regularly.
2) Donate to organizations working in Afghanistan and surrounding areas to help.
International Rescue Committee (IRC) – assisting on the ground in refugee camps as well as helping individuals and families resettle in the U.S.
Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) – active in refugee resettlement across the U.S. Currently, LIRS is operating their program “Afghan Allies” lending assistance to those currently in Afghanistan.
United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) – providing on-the-ground support for those displaced and in need in Afghanistan.
U.S. Committee for Refugees & Immigrants (USCRI) – currently providing resources and information to those in Afghanistan and around the world on SIV applications and beyond.
3) Donate to specialized service organizations here in St. Louis. We’re so fortunate to live in such a diverse city where foreign-born community support organizations are plentiful. It’s not just about newly arrived refugees. These organizations serve the wider immigrant populations in our region.
Casa de Salud
Welcome Neighbor STL
Bilingual International Assistant Services (BIAS)
Immigrant Home English Learning Program (IHELP)
4) Prepare to volunteer your time and energy.
We know that we at IISTL are anticipating 1,000 refugee cases this year. We don’t know when they will come – sometimes we will receive as little as 24-48 hours’ notice of arrival. IISTL, as well as the above-mentioned organizations, will need your help. The best things you can do right now is to prepare – fill out interest forms and applications, stay engaged and informed. We’re sure other organizations will form and become more involved. New needs will formulate. Be patient and flexible with the ever-changing landscape that is refugee resettlement.
5) Advocate on any and all levels.
Pick up the phone. Call your representatives (local, state, federal) and let them know that you want action from them now and on an ongoing basis around the issue of Afghan resettlement. Policy makers as well as shapers of public discourse need to understand that there is broad bipartisan consensus for Afghan resettlement and that – regardless of opinions on the military engagement – the United States should not abandon its allies to be persecuted.
While timelines are currently unknown, what we do know is that your help will be needed. Get involved today and stay involved. This is a tragedy we’re watching unfold in real-time. We’re unfortunately seeing these types of situations happen more and more on the global stage. We can help. Let them come. Let us welcome our new neighbors with open arms.
Click here to learn more.