Letter to the Editor 10.15.2021 - Afghan Refugees Need Our Help
I wanted to write a letter to my community, my home, York. Can you help? About two months ago, President Biden made a debacle out of the retreat from Afghanistan. The decisions he made left many people dead, many still stranded, but some families were able to make it out alive. Many of these Afghan families are people that helped us out, in partnership, while the US was in Afghanistan, often risking their own lives. Having grown up in Nebraska, let alone America, I have been truly blessed. I find it hard to imagine what many of these people are going through: the fear, the torment, leaving family members behind, the feeling that giving their baby to a strange soldier gives them a better chance at survival. All of this, to start a new life in a country where they don’t speak the language, with nothing but the clothes on their back to start over. They’ve left their homes, their cars, their jobs, their childhood memories, everything. Honestly, it breaks my heart.
There are a few groups in Lincoln and Omaha that work with refugees when they arrive, to try and get them set up with what minimal assistance there is. A few families have started to arrive, but hundreds more are expected shortly. As a community, are their ways we can step-up and help? One of the biggest immediate needs will be housing. Like everywhere, housing is in short supply. Do you know of anyone that has any availability: apartments, houses, rooms at their house, etc? Besides a physical place to live, these groups are looking for donations of household items, furniture, clothing, money, cars, etc. and locations to store these items until people arrive. Currently York College PBL and the York Girl Scouts have already started raising donations for families when they arrive in Lincoln. I’m sure there are others that have been doing what they can to help too. I thank you for your commitment to your fellow man.
One example of an issue that comes up, is people often can’t rent an apartment without a last known address and a photo ID, which they can’t get until they have a place to live, with mail coming to their address? There will be many hurdles like this for families when they arrive, if we can do our part to alleviate some of these, I feel like it’s the least we could do. If there’s anything you’re willing and able to do, please let me know. York is an amazing community.
Let’s show love to our neighbors!