Donations accepted in Sterling for Afghan refugees

Hundreds of Afghan refugees being evacuated out of Kabul have landed in the D.C. region, but for many, the thousand-mile flight overseas is just the start of a long journey.

Local faith leaders are organizing to help Afghans fleeing the Taliban after its fighters took the country’s capital and effectively toppled the government.

The U.S. State Department has been leaning on groups like the Northern Virginia-based All Dulles Area Muslim Society to meet with refugees arriving in the area, and to assist in coordinating support.

ADAMS interfaith, government and media relations chair Rizwan Jaka said the group’s Sterling center is seeking donations to provide resources for refugees as they rebuild their lives.

“We have to collect money, we’ve got to provide resources for English as a second language, jobs, education, retraining, skill sets and supplies that will be needed to get people started,” Jaka said. “The government will help to a certain point, but then it’s up to the faith community to come together.”

Donations to the ADAMS Relief Fund can be made online. Jaka asks the public not to bring supplies directly to evacuee locations at this point — more information on volunteer roles, specific supplies and drop-offs will be emailed at a later date.

The group will accept items including toothpaste, toothbrushes, deodorant, adhesive bandages, pacifiers, diapers, chargers, backpacks and clean clothing at its Sterling center between 12 p.m. and 6 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 23. Items should be presorted, with one item type per box.

ADAMS is reaching out to state and federal officials, as well as other local faith-based groups including Lutheran Social Services — which has its own donation page to assist with transportation, temporary housing and other needs upon arrival.

Jaka said there is a high demand for help from D.C. residents who can speak Dari or Pashto, Afghanistan’s two most common languages. Those able to volunteer can sign up via a Google Form.

WTOP’s Neal Augenstein contributed to this report.

Alejandro Alvarez

Alejandro Alvarez joined WTOP as a digital reporter and editor in June 2018. He is a writer and photojournalist focusing on politics, political activism and national affairs, with recent multimedia contributions to Reuters, MSNBC and PBS.

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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