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How you can help Afghan refugees arriving in Colorado

Coloradans hoping to help refugees after the collapse of Afghanistan’s government have multiple options to lend a hand, ranging from giving material goods, money or their time.

Between 2-3% of Afghan refugees who come to the U.S. will resettle in Colorado, Jennifer Wilson, executive director of the International Rescue Committee in Denver, told The Denver Post.

So far, around 60 or 70 Afghan refugees have come to Colorado this summer, but many more could arrive depending on developing circumstances, Wilson said.

Below is a list of suggestions from local organizations that are dedicated to helping refugees.

Check with organizations in the know

Colorado has several organizations dedicated to help refugees as they make their way into our state. Some include the Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains in Colorado Springs, Denver and Greeley; the African Community Center; and the International Rescue Committee. Check with the local organizations in your area for the most up-to-date needs and ways you can help the refugee community. If giving time to these organizations doesn’t align with your schedule, most have options to donate money.

Make a donation kit

To make donations easier, several organizations compiled lists of items needed to help refugees settle into their new homes. Items include household goods, baby supplies, hygiene products, bike safety and donations to help someone looking for work. The International Rescue Committee has donation lists on their website with instructions on how to package and schedule a drop-off time. Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains has donation lists for an apartment bin checklist, baby baskets, welcome baskets and hygiene baskets listed on their website for their Denver location, as well.

Employ a refugee

Offering a refugee a job is one of the most foundational ways to help someone start their life anew, according to the Denver chapter of the International Rescue Committee. The committee helps refugees prepare for Colorado’s job markets. If your company is hiring, let Denver’s International Rescue Committee know by emailing [email protected]

Tutor youth

Coloradans can volunteer for the Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains in-home tutoring program that matches participants with a high school-aged refugee. Tutors will likely help their students with basic literacy and subject competency but tasks could vary based on the needs of the child. Volunteers will need to commit one hour per week for the duration of the semester. Experience working with children or in education is preferred but not required. A background check will be conducted. For information on how to apply, visit the Lutheran Family Services Rocky Mountains website and click on the “refugee and asylee volunteer program” under the “Get Involved” tab.

Deliver food

The International Rescue Committee is looking for volunteers to pick up food boxes from either a Metro Caring or Project Worthmore location and deliver food to up to five homebound families in the Denver Metro area. The committee estimates the time commitment to be two to three hours per week. For more information and other volunteer opportunities, visit the International Rescue Committee’s website.

Be a friend

The African Community Center of Denver — serving more than 1,500 refugees, asylees, and other immigrants yearly — offers a program in which volunteers partner with a refugee or refugee family to be someone to lean on for a minimum of six months as they get their bearings in this country. Volunteers can help their new friends learn conversational English, go on outings to help familiarize them with their new surroundings and be a support system when needed. For more information, visit acc-den.org/volunteer.

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