‘Hug a veteran’ and other ways to support Afghan refugees

Written by on August 20, 2021

‘Hug a veteran’ and other ways to support Afghan refugees

By Genesis Ortega

August 20, 2021

U.S. Marine Corps Gen. Frank McKenzie, center, the commander of U.S. Central Command, meets with U.S. Navy Rear Adm. Peter Vasely, commander of U.S. Forces Afghanistan-Forward, at Hamid Karzai International Airport, Kabul, Afghanistan, Tuesday, Aug. 17, 2021. (Capt. William Urban/U.S. Navy via AP)

The rapid fall of Afghanistan to the Taliban surprised a lot of Americans and has led some to seek ways they can help support the Afghan community.

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“I have been completely flooded with phone calls and emails asking how people can help support Afghan refugees,” said Megan Fox, coordinator of the Refugee Community Center at the Episcopal Church of the Mediator in Allentown.

Among the people reaching out, she said, are veterans who served in Afghanistan and other local churches. 

“People are really trying to do what they can for this incredibly hopeless situation. But it’s good to see people rally around refugees,” she said.

The center is already supporting Afghan families, she said, but at the moment is not expecting an additional influx of refugees in the coming weeks. 

“It is really amazing to see how many people are getting involved trying to help,” she said. “I’m connected with some veterans that served in Afghanistan and they’re doing everything they can to call and vouch for people that worked with them in Afghanistan.”

Though few Afghan refugees are expected here in the Lehigh Valley, there are several ways, Fox said, that the community can offer support: 

  •  Love your Afghan neighbors
  • Support local Afghan and Muslim businesses
  • Contact senators Bob Casey and Pat Toomey and your local congressperson and tell them you support accepting Afghan refugees 
  • If you know an Afghan family that is trying to bring family here you can call your Senator or congressperson to vouch for them
  •  Hug a veteran
  • Contact President Joe Biden and tell him to raise the refugee cap so we can accept more refugees including Afghans
  • Donate to Bethany Christian Services who is the local refugee resettlement agency and would facilitate bringing Afghans to our area
  • Donate to Refugee Community Center at Church of the Mediator
  • Volunteer at the Refugee Community Center at Church of the Mediator 
  • Contact the Mayor of Allentown and tell him that we are ready and willing to welcome Afghan refugees

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