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With refugees from Afghanistan staying in various hotels in Tulsa, local volunteers are working to get apartments ready. Catholic Charities, which has already brought together 10 apartments for the refugees, is leading the local charge to help, with another five apartments at the ready for next week.
At least 1800 Afghan refugees will find new homes in Oklahoma, with over 100 coming to Tulsa throughout the next week. Catholic Charities, armed with a volunteer corps, has been readying homes for several weeks now.
The major goal of the organization is to have apartments already furnished and ready for the Afghan refugees before they move in. Volunteers have worked to provide furnishings for the homes, so that the refugees can begin their life anew in Tulsa without worrying about providing home items for families.
“It’s going to be a long process”
At least 50 volunteers are at the ready to support the refugees as they settle into their new homes. According to Kelly Cassidy, director of volunteer engagement for Catholic Charities, “From the beginning the outpouring of community support has just been incredible,” noting that the surge in volunteers helps to ready apartments as quickly as possible.
CAIR Oklahoma, the Council of American-Islamic Relations, has partnered with Catholic Charities as well. Adam Soltani, director of CAIR Oklahoma, cautioned that the support for Afghan refugees is a long-term effort. “It’s going to be a long process. We have to be prepared for the marathon, not just for the sprint so we need to support them not just for a few months, but for many years to come.”
Supporting Afghan refugees involves not just money, but also creating a sense of belonging for the people, some of whom have already experienced hate from community members. One woman was told to go back where she came from, according to Mr. Soltani.
Both CAIR Oklahoma and Catholic Charities are continuing to accept more donations, including hygiene items, toys for children, and financial assistance for families. To volunteer, please visit CAIR Oklahoma or Catholic Charities.