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San Antonio

Catholic Charities To Aid Hundreds Of Afghan Refugees In San Antonio

San Antonio Catholic Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller.jpg
Brian Kirkpatrick
/
Texas Public Radio
San Antonio Catholic Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller speaks during news conference to announce aid for Afghan refugees

Catholic Charities of San Antonio plans to help more than 342 new Afghan refugees resettle in the city following the Taliban takeover and the withdrawal of U.S. forces.

The refugees may start arriving as soon as Wednesday. They will join more than 500 other Afghans the charity has helped to make San Antonio their home between Oct. 1, 2020, and Sept. 30, 2021.

San Antonio Catholic Archbishop Gustavo Garcia-Siller called not only on Catholics, but on all San Antonians to welcome the refugees. He said many of them assisted with U.S. military or diplomatic missions in Afghanistan during the 20-year war there

"Let us help our brothers and sisters from Afghanistan to find right here in San Antonio, a home," he said at a Tuesday afternoon news conference.

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An Afghan man, who asked not to be identified out of fear of retaliation, has worked for Catholic Charities for a few years. This summer he took his family home to see his father.

When the country suddenly collapsed under Taliban rule, they were trapped.

"Every night I'm dreaming I'm running around and I have my backpacks and my kids with me," he said.

He added the Taliban interrogated and beat him at the Kabul airport. But he managed to get to his wife and five children on a U.S. military plane, escaped and eventually returned to San Antonio. He said once he recovers from the trauma, he wants to help his fellow Afghans settle here.

He said having a community of hundreds of Afghans living in San Antonio will help the healing process for all of them.

Catholic Charities accepts donations at its website to provide safe shelter, basic needs, and wrap around services. Gift cards from H-E-B, Walmart and Target can be dropped off at Catholic Charities headquarters at 202 West French Place weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Volunteers are also welcome to help the refugees at their housing locations, pack hygiene kits, assist with material distribution, facilitate meals, coordinate transportation and more.

Volunteer applications can be found at https://ccaosa.org.