‘They are not alone’: Local students empty piggy banks to help Afghan refugee children

Roanoke Catholic students raised more than $5,000 for Afghan refugee children.

Their goal is to raise $2,500

ROANOKE, Va. – When given the opportunity to make a difference, students at Roanoke Catholic chose to help the children of Afghan refugees now living in the Commonwealth.

Students have been donating money all week to send to Commonwealth Catholic Charities to purchase backpacks and supplies. Students say they hope it will help Afghan families start a new life here in Virginia.

Freshman Andrew Wang said he wants them to know they are cared about.

“I hope it makes them feel more welcome in our society as they are far from their own society in Afghanistan,” Wang said. “They are not alone, or isolated in Roanoke.”

Wang was born in America, but has family in China. He said after the pandemic prevented travel, he understood how hard it must be to not be able to see family overseas.

The original goal was to raise $2,500. As of Friday, students more than doubled that. Roanoke Catholic teacher Ellen Vanden Eykeyl said students raised more than $5,000.

“We’ve had kids bringing in little baggies full of change from their piggy banks and we’ve also got big checks coming in. Both of those are so heartfelt and so important,” Vanden Eykeyl said. “The total that came in this morning blew me away.”

If you would like to donate, visit Commonwealth Catholic Charities online.

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