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San Antonio Launches Support Website To Assist Afghan Refugees Fleeing the Taliban

San Antonio City Hall
Joey Palacios / Texas Public Radio
San Antonio City Hall

The City of San Antonio and more than a dozen other organizations have started a website for the public to help hundreds of Afghan refugees who will come to the Alamo City.

The website, AfghansInSA.org, is a clearing house for donation and volunteer opportunities and resources for newly arriving Afghans. It’s the fruit of a network of nonprofits pooling specialties in a single place. About 300 Afghan refugees are expected to arrive in San Antonio in the coming weeks.

At a press conference Friday, San Antonio Mayor Ron Nirenberg said the website supports an important mission. “Helping Afghans who fled their homes because of their cooperation with the U.S. military in opposition to the Taliban is the embodiment of the city's commitment to the military, as well as a demonstration of our compassion,” he explained.

The mayor said the city has received hundreds of requests from residents asking how to help newly-arrived Afghan refugees.

“As a compassionate city, San Antonio has a rich history of embracing and welcoming the veterans who have served Americans [and] America's humanitarian interests. Refugees from Afghanistan served alongside our men and women in uniform and risked their lives and their families lives in support of the United States mission in Afghanistan,” Nirenberg said.

The partners include some of the city’s and region’s best known agencies for refugee resettlement , including the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) Catholic Charities, and the Center for Refugee Services.

RAICES, for example, will provide services such as picking up refugees from the San Antonio International Airport, facilitating housing, providing furnishings, linking them up with medical services, ESL services, employment, and referrals to community partners.

Religious and cultural groups like Raindrop Foundation, Muslim American Society, Asian American Alliance of San Antonio, and the San Antonio Food Bank are also assisting the efforts.

San Antonio Food Bank CEO Eric Cooper said the food bank is privileged to respond to crises with the logistical support it can offer.

“Oftentimes, a response unmanaged can be a part of the crisis, and so using our assets and expertise and supply chain management, we will be coordinating the in kind donations that will be flowing through the community,” he explained, “and the different avenues and channels of how that will come to a destination where volunteers can sort box and prepare to be the right goods, the right supplies, the right resources, when needed, so that they won't add to the stress of this endeavor.”

Those seeking to help the arriving refugees can sign up for volunteer opportunities at AfghansInSA.org. Monetary donations are also accepted as well as gift cards to stores like H-E-B, Walmart, and Target, which will be used to help address individual needs.

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Joey Palacios can be reached atJoey@TPR.org and on Twitter at @Joeycules
Carson Frame can be reached carson@tpr.org and on Twitter at @carson_frame