RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) – More than 20,000 Afghans who fled their country are now in the U.S. Another 40,000 could be on their way and some of them already have arrived in the Triangle area.
At a former Ace Hardware store in Fuquay-Varina, donations started coming in nine days ago and have not slowed. Volunteers said welcoming new families to the area would not be possible without the help and kindness of the community.
Carol O’Brien and her husband stopped by Monday to drop off clothing items for newly arrived Afghan families.
“I can’t donate a lot of money, so they’ll need stuff to wear,” O’Brien said.
She said she empathizes with people who left their country, often with less than a suitcase of belongings.
‘”They’re going through an awful time and if I was going to a strange country where I didn’t know anybody. I wouldn’t even know what to do,” she said.
Carolina Peace Center teamed with a number of organizations like the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants to create a hub for their donations. The space and its contents are donated.
People are hauling in everything from furniture to cleaning products.
“It’s incumbent upon us as, not only as Americans but a cluster of humanity, to come together and do something. We can’t just sit and wait and do nothing,” said Faisal Khan, founder of Carolina Peace Center.
Once Khan gets word about a family arriving, volunteers box up items with the basics needed to start over. They take into account the family size and profile to put together a welcome box for their new home.
“I wasn’t expecting this much stuff in this short amount of time,” Khan said. “I was really touched by the people’s effort and the love and kindness.”
Khan said he gets more messages and calls every day from people offering their time and donations.
“People are capable of doing great things when they come together and right here, this is a miracle.”
Khan says they could use more manpower to pick up and deliver heavier donations like furniture. The next hurdle is finding housing for at least 100 families coming to the Raleigh area. If the donations here are any indication, there will be more people willing to help.
“People are good and want to help,” said O’Brien.
How you can help
- Donations can be taken to 405 Broad Street in Fuquay-Varina through October
- An Amazon wishlist has been set up with items prices as low as $7. Click here for that.
- For volunteer opportunities, click here to join the American Volunteers For Refugees in US & Europe Facebook group
- Welcome House Raleigh is working with Green Chair to collect items for homes. Those donations can be taken to 1853 Capital Boulevard in Raleigh. Click here for items they are collecting.