Grocery gift cards, free legal help, winter clothing ... and the list of needs keeps growing for a now estimated 500 Afghan refugees that one Durham refugee agency will be resettling in the next year.
Kokou Nayo, refugee community organizer for Church World Service Durham, says among the most important things needed from people looking to help are financial donations and temporary housing.
Since the last week of July, the organization has helped 14 Afghan refugees, including a family of eight, resettle in the Triangle.
In its monthly newsletter, World Relief Durham, another agency, said it expects to resettle 380 refugees in the next year, with at least 80 of them from Afghanistan.
Together, the two agencies will resettle nearly half of the projected 1,169 Afghan refugees coming to North Carolina cities over the next six months, Carla West of the N.C. Department of Health and Human Services told The Charlotte Observer.
The six cities are Raleigh, Durham, Charlotte, Asheville, Greensboro and New Bern.
The other two refugee agencies that will help in the Triangle are Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service and USCRI North Carolina. The News & Observer contacted both but has not yet received a reply.
In Raleigh and Durham, the pending arrival of hundreds of Afghan nationals fleeing a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan seems to be well-received.
In a video update, World Relief Durham executive director Adam Clark said that in the office’s 14 years, his team “never experienced such an outpouring of community support in such a short period of time.”
The agency has received more than 900 volunteer applications.
“We have been truly blown away by the extraordinary outpouring of support this past month in response to the Afghan refugee crisis,” Clark said.
Clark says World Relief Durham is getting calls and emails every day from people who want to help.
Hundreds have donated financially, and the agency’s Amazon wish list of items to furnish apartments for newcomers was completely filled.
But as the number of Afghans arriving increases, so does the need for assistance.
A list Nayo emailed to The News & Observer included: volunteers to set up apartments, ESL volunteers to help with English proficiency, financial sponsors, gift cards for groceries, fall and winter clothing, jobs leads, school back packs and pro-bono immigration help for Afghan with humanitarian parole.
Humanitarian parole is a temporary status granted by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Citizenship and Immigration Services in emergency situations to people “otherwise inadmissible into the United States.”
Many Afghans without Special Immigrant Visas are arriving on humanitarian parole. But it doesn’t make them eligible for refugee resettlement services and funding, as SIV or refugee status would.
Humanitarian parole also is typically granted for only up to a year.
Both Nayo and Clark urged for advocacy to increase funding for refugees and humanitarian parolees for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins October 1.
“Make your voice heard today to ensure that Afghan arrivals and the resettlement agencies receiving them have sufficient support to empower Afghans to rebuild their lives,” World Relief’s Adam Clark shared in his newsletter.
The Durham Report
Calling Bull City readers! We've launched The Durham Report, a free weekly digest of some of the top stories for and about Durham published in The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun. Get your newsletter delivered straight to your inbox every Thursday at 11 a.m. featuring links to stories by our local journalists. Sign up for our newsletter here. For even more Durham-focused news and conversation, join our Facebook group "The Story of my Street."