Oklahoma City recently welcome its first Afghan refugee family. Representatives from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, Oklahoma chapter (CAIR-OK), alongside Catholic Charities staff, greeted the family as they landed in Oklahoma City and provided them with welcome kits filled with essential items such as a copy of the Qur’an, an Islamic prayer rug and clothing, plus halal food “from a local Muslim restaurant as a reminder that their faith and culture are safe and celebrated in Oklahoma,” explained CAIR-OK Civil Rights Director Veronica Laizure.
CAIR-OK has been organizing the welcome effort, collecting donations from the OKC community that will assist the refugees as they transition to life in Oklahoma. These items include, but are not limited to, clothing, hygiene items, PPE supplies, school supplies and winter items. Other donation drives, including winter gear, baby supplies and school supplies for children, will be posted to the organization’s web pages and social media as more information becomes available.
“Right now, we are focused on sorting out what we have and on meeting the immediate needs of these families as they arrive,” continued Laizure. “However, we do also anticipate needing the community to step up in other ways, including in the areas of housing, medical care, storage for donated furniture and housewares, education, counseling, and more. There will be many opportunities to get involved, so we encourage everyone to reach out to us and stay tuned to our social media accounts as we learn more.”
Oklahoma is anticipated to receive the 3rd highest number of Afghan refugees coming to the United States. According to confirmed reports, Oklahoma is expecting 1,800 Afghan refugees to arrive over the coming months with 1,000 that will be relocated to Oklahoma City and 800 that will be relocated to Tulsa.
Volunteers are needed to help pack gift bags, sort and catalog donations, serve on welcome committees and more. Donations of masks, hand sanitizer, cleaning supplies, school supplies, personal hygiene items, menstrual products and gently-used and operable cell phones and tablets are also needed.
To volunteer or donate, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for even more volunteer opportunities for your family, check out these family-friendly volunteer opportunities.