Wishing to Assist Afghan Evacuees? Suggestions Offered

By Lynn Binnie
Whitewater Banner volunteer staff

Fort McCoy, 40 miles east of La Crosse and the Minnesota border, is one of eight military bases in the U.S. that is temporarily housing refugees who fled from Afghanistan after the Taliban toppled Afghanistan’s U.S.-backed government on Aug. 15. As of this week, 12,500 Afghans were staying at the Wisconsin base. The Wisconsin State Journal reported this week that many Afghan refugees staying at Fort McCoy still had not been able to get a new set of clothes.

First United Methodist Church is participating in an “Ingathering for Afghan Daily Needs,” and will be arranging for transportation to Ft. McCoy for items received by Friday, September 24.

Below is an updated list of needs for the guests at Ft McCoy as of 9/14/2021. Please
consider donating new or gently used items for this Ingathering. They
may be dropped off at FUMC, 145 S. Prairie Street. and we will take them to the designated
collection site. Donations may be brought to the Prairie Street entrance and left in the church library during office hours, Tuesday-Friday, 8 a.m. – 5 p.m.

An even easier option is to click on this link, which has the current
list. If you click on “Check out my list on Amazon” it will take you directly to
the Resettlement registry where you can purchase items directly. Amazon
will then deliver the items directly.

This is an updated list for the guests at Ft McCoy as of 9/14/2021:
Mens Size 7-9 Closed Toe Shoes
Womens Size 5-8 Closed Toe Shoes

Kids elementary age All Sizes Plain Long Sleeve Shirts (no logos, sayings, or cartoons)
Kids elementary age All Sizes Pants
Kids elementary age All Sizes Closed Toe Shoes
Kids elementary age All Sizes Coats/Jackets

The League of Women Voters – Whitewater Area has provided the following suggestions:

The League of Women Voters supports policies responsive to those facing political persecution or humanitarian crises and we applaud efforts being made by Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families to offer ways for Wisconsin residents to help Afghan individuals and families recently relocated to Fort McCoy, Wisconsin, by Operation Allies Refuge. 

The Afghan evacuees at Fort McCoy face the daunting task of adjusting to life in a new country and culture very unlike their own. They arrived with little or no luggage. In the spirit of universal kindness and belief in the value of diversity and inclusivity, the League of Women Voters of the Whitewater Area encourages all Wisconsinites to support our Afghan allies in their time of need. Your donation to any of the following reputable charitable organizations is greatly appreciated.  

Catholic Charities of La Crosse has gift registries set up through Amazon Smile, Target, and Walmart where donors can purchase needed items and have them shipped to La Crosse for distribution at Fort McCoy. Call 888-212-4357 or 608-782-0710.  https://cclse.org/ 

Wisconsin Conference of the United Methodist Church, Committee on Immigrant & Refugee Ministries: Give through your local church or through the Immigration Assistance button on the homepage at www.wisconsinumc.org. Call (608) 837-7328 or (888) 240-7328.

Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin, Refugee and Resettlement Services: Visit  https://www.lsswis.org/ for ways to give and get involved. Call 414-246-2300.

International Institute of Wisconsin:  Assists immigrants and refugees in transitioning into the Milwaukee community by offering programming and support services. From immigration and social services to refugee resettlement, the Institute promotes international cooperation, understanding, and a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural perspective. Call 414-225-6220. http://iiwisconsin.org/

World Relief of Fox Valley: World Relief’s work in the United States, specifically, focuses on helping refugees and other immigrants in vulnerable situations rebuild their lives in a new country. Call (920) 231-3600.  https://worldrelief.org/fox-valley/

Jewish Social Services of Madison: Hasn’t yet been called upon to resettle SIV (Special Immigrant Visa) recipients being processed at Fort McCoy. Call (608) 442-4081 or visit https://jssmadison.org/ for news updates.

American Red Cross: Supports Afghan resettlement efforts across the nation. https://www.redcross.org/about-us/news-and-events/news/Red-Cross-Helps-as-Refugees-Flee-Homelands.html

Thank you for caring,
Mary Beth Byrne, Co-President, LWV Whitewater Area, WisconsinWoods@gmail.com
Ellen Penwell, Co-President, LWV Whitewater Area, ellen@lwvwhitewater.org

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