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Afghan Refugee Response

Support Refugees from Afghanistan
Many members of the Agudas Achim community are interested in helping Afghan refugees both in our community and around the world. The Social Action Committee has formed a Refugee Assistance Steering Committee to plan AAC’s response to support our new Afghan neighbors. Currently, Afghans who have arrived in the US are being screened and processed at military bases, and they will likely begin arriving for resettlement in U.S. cities in October. While a broader, congregation-wide effort is being planned to support Afghan families when they arrive for resettlement in the D.C. area, the Steering Committee has provided the following information for members of the community who are interested in providing immediate support.
Opportunities to provide financial and material support:
Donations to AAC Rabbi’s Discretionary Fund: This fund will house the primary financing for AAC’s initiative to support Afghan families in the D.C. area. You can donate here. Under "type" select Rabbi's Discretionary, and in the "payment notes" state AAC’s Afghan Refugee Resettlement.
Fund for Afghan Women: This fund, created by two DC-based organizations, Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security and Vital Voices, supports evacuation, transition, and resettlement of at-risk Afghan women. You can donate here.
Lutheran Social Services: LSS is the primary refugee resettlement agency in the D.C. area. You can donate here or purchase items directly from LSS’ wish list. Please note that AAC’s future congregation-wide effort will also support LSS’s mission.
HIAS: HIAS supports refugee resettlement in 17 communities around the country. Support HIAS’ refugee resettlement efforts.

Opportunities for volunteering and advocacy:
Catholic Charities of Arlington’s Migration and Refugee Services: Catholic Charities has posted a call for volunteer or deeply discounted licensed providers of medical, dental, and mental health services and for owners of rental properties willing to lease to Afghan families in Alexandria, Fredericksburg, Sterling, and Woodbridge. Get more information.
Georgetown Institute for Women, Peace, and Security: The Protect Afghan Women Campaign provides resources for advocacy to elected officials and local action to protect Afghan women and women’s rights defenders.
Human Rights First: HRF has resources to contact elected officials and take action on social media to advocate for Afghans at risk. HRF also is seeking pro bono lawyers and Dari/Pashto speakers to volunteer as interpreters. Learn more.
Legal resources and information: 
For Afghans in need of assistance: International Refugee Assistance Project (IRAP) has legal resources for Afghans (in English, Dari, and Pashto). Dr. Jill Goldenziel has developed a guide for Afghans applying for humanitarian parole. Use this form to refer an Afghan needing pro bono legal assistance to Human Rights First. 
For lawyers and others working to support Afghans: Resources for U.S. immigration attorneys are available from IRAP. The American Bar Association is presenting a free webinar series for lawyers. Resources and contacts for NGOs and others working to support resettlement and evacuation efforts are available from Afghan Allies. 
General information on resources in Alexandria: The City of Alexandria has a resource page for immigrants and refugees.

What’s next at ACC?
The Steering Committee plans to support Lutheran Social Services to set up one or more Afghan refugee families in an apartment. We will be collecting new or gently used household items for welcome kits as well as material or financial donations for furniture and other needed items. Once families are cleared to arrive in our area, we will contact the AAC community with a specific list of donations and let you know where to drop them off. This will likely be in early October.

Lutheran Social Services has an immediate need for gift cards from Visa, Target, Walmart, Giant, Uber, and Lyft. The Steering Committee is determining the best central collection point for these gift cards and will update the congregation as soon as possible. You can also drop them off directly at an LSS office.


Wed, September 22 2021 16 Tishrei 5782