Local group hopes you’ll help them help Afghan refugees

Thousands of Afghan refugees are in the process of being resettled all around the country, including many of them here in the D.C. region. Numerous nonprofit organizations are scrambling to help make that transition easier.

Islamic Relief USA says its working to put together food boxes to distribute to refugees who transition out of the military housing they’re being given when they first arrive. The hope is to start delivering those boxes Friday.

“Our goal is to provide 10,000 food boxes to refugees all around the country, including the [DMV] area,” said Minhaj Hassan, a spokesman with Islamic Relief USA.

Each box will contain items like flour, cooking oils, tea and other aspects of a more traditional Afghan diet. The group has also already been working to provide prayer rugs for incoming refugees.

But more resources are still needed, and Hassan said financial donations is the most productive way to help meet that need.

“We see a lot of people donating goods like blankets, diapers … clothes, but those things can create logistical hurdles for nonprofit organizations,” Hassan said. “The most effective way to help is not so much to provide donated goods, but to provide financial donations because that way we can purchase supplies in bulk.”

Hassan said money his group raises will also be used to provide grants to other organizations helping with the settlement of refugees.

“A lot of them as you can imagine are probably swamped and they probably need help with resources and staffing,” Hassan said.

In addition, Islamic Relief USA is also working to provide food, shelter and other assistance to Afghan citizens still in Afghanistan who are dealing with food insecurity, which the group says is likely to intensify in the coming months.

John Domen

John started working at WTOP in 2016 after having grown up in Maryland listening to the station as a child. While he got his on-air start at small stations in Pennsylvania and Delaware, he's spent most of his career in the D.C. area, having been heard on several local stations before coming to WTOP.

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