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Supporting Afghan Arrivals: Wish List & Gift Cards

Because of our history, Jews have a special affinity for refugees. As of mid-November, our new Afghan Support Team has met with refugee resettlement agency New American Pathways, collected outerwear during a one-week coat drive, and coordinated items for 18 culturally sensitive welcome baskets. 

Now the entire congregation is invited to bring light by helping out in the next, broader phase. Here’s how you can pitch in remotely in this season of giving.

  1. End-of-Year Cheer: Buy toys for refugee children! Each December, New American Pathways delivers a holiday gift to each of the hundreds of kids in its programs (not just Afghans). Here’s its Amazon End-of-Year Cheer Wish List listing toys by age range. Order as many as you—we suggest several of the same type rather than a mishmash—or buy similar toys locally and drop them off at New AP near Northlake (2300 Henderson Mill Rd NE, Suite 100, Atlanta GA 30345), still indicating on the wish list that they’re accounted for. Please let Kim Goldsmith or Sarah Zaslaw (kimgoldsmith@comcast.net or s.zaslaw@comcast.net) know of your contribution so we can track the CBH effort. Deadline: as soon as possible.
     
  2. Gift Cards: New AP collects and distributes gift cards its clients can use for their needs at big box stores. Think Target, Walmart, Sam’s Club, etc. Buy in increments of $50. Hand cards to Kim Goldsmith or Sarah Zaslaw (contact at kimgoldsmith@comcast.net or s.zaslaw@comcast.net) and we will pass them on as a group offering. Deadline: ongoing. 
     

Together CBHers can make a real difference for these people who never expected to find themselves in this situation. Thanks for your compassionate interest. 

Want to join CBH’s Afghan Support Team? These few dozen volunteer congregants receive occasional emails about opportunities and projects that don’t go to the full congregation. There are also chances to step up and help coordinate parts of the effort. To be added to the list, please email both Kim Goldsmith and Greg Lawrence (kimgoldsmith@comcast.netexecdirector@cbhatlanta.org). 
 

Background On Incoming Afghan Refugees And New American Pathways

As New AP’s Nancy Gaddy explained to us, the hundreds of Afghan families arriving here possess little more than the clothes on their backs. Many are educated professionals (tech workers, accountants, translators) who had been assisting United States personnel in Afghanistan. They escaped their homeland abruptly in August and September under chaotic, traumatic circumstances, leaving careers, property, savings, and maybe loved ones behind. They then landed in extremely temporary housing, such as tents on army bases. 

These people are not coming through the usual vetted refugee pipeline. They have the emergency status “humanitarian parolees.” That means fewer federal dollars per person for housing. And because of the current housing crunch, they may end up resettled far beyond DeKalb, in other parts of metro Atlanta and Georgia. Agencies are looking into hotel space for starters, which would put family groups in single rooms without kitchens. 

(As an additional wrinkle, resettlement organizations had scaled way down under the previous administration, with refugee inflow down to a trickle. They must now ramp up dramatically to meet the influx.)

For now, we are supporting immediate priorities as requested: gifts, gift cards, coats, office help, etc. 

In 2022, as the Afghans hopefully move into more permanent housing, volunteers will be able to start working with families directly, as English tutors and so on. That phase may require training and background check. Updates to follow.

Wed, December 8 2021 4 Tevet 5782