50 Afghan refugees arrive in Roanoke and need your help

Any donations are vital as the families are arriving with just the clothes on their backs

With thousands of Afghan families trying to flee for refuge, some are even coming here to Roanoke.

ROANOKE, Va. – Chaos is still unfolding in Afghanistan with thousands of families trying to flee for refuge—some of them even coming here to Roanoke.

Shocking images continue to come from overseas, showing Afghan families trying to escape Taliban rule.

Marnie Mills with Mission Advancement Associate said those images hit closer to home than you may think.

“Well, it’s heartbreaking. We have a lot of staff here that also have family there, and that’s where they come from,” Mills said.

Fifty Afghans have already arrived in Roanoke with more expected to come. In total, 100 Afghans have arrived in three different locations: Roanoke, Richmond and Newport News.

To help these Afghan families start on the right foot, Commonwealth Catholic Charities is collecting supplies to form care kits. In just a few days, boxes of supplies poured in from the community with items like food, toothpaste, bedsheets and even mattresses.

“I mean, you can’t imagine probably what they are coming from and coming here has to be overwhelming itself,” Mills said.

Blacksburg Refugee Partnership is also making an effort to help families. The nonprofit, which was founded in 2016, aims to help resettle families by enrolling their children in school, assisting the family with health care and helping adults find jobs.

About four years ago, three single Afghan mothers and their children moved to Blacksburg to start their new life, the nonprofit said. But the women worry about their families in Afghanistan and wish the organization could save them too.

“It is very hard to be in that position,” Blacksburg Refugee Partnership President Scott Bailey said. “You don’t leave those problems behind at all. The concern they are all having right now is all for their families.”

Though affordable housing is still an issue, any donations are vital as the families are arriving with just the clothes on their backs.

If you want to help, Commonwealth Catholic Charities has an Amazon wish list of items that are still needed. There are three wish lists for each location the families have arrived in.

About the Author:

Alexus joined 10 News in October 2020.