Charities helping Afghan refugees resettle in Rochester
ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — Local agencies like the Catholic Family Center are preparing to welcome another round of Afghan refugees to Rochester.
Because of the rapidly changing situation at the airport in Kabul, Afghanistan, it’s hard to predict how many will arrive here. The center has been told that the United States could be receiving up to 50,000 people, but that number is subject to change.
"I do think that’s a fluid number that could fluctuate both ways depending on the airport in Kabul, which is, right now they’re locking it down at night and so they’re making people leave again after it took them maybe all day to get in," said Catholic Family Director of Refugee and Immigration Services Center Lisa Hoyt.
Refugee resettlement programs across the country are operating at a fraction of the staff needed to meet the urgent demand from the Middle East. As a result, the Catholic Family Center is looking to hire more people to work with refugee families.
"We’re all hands on deck. Everybody’s doing their fair share, even if it’s not their typical job," Hoyt said. "We are, on this level, getting inundated by requests for help."
Hoyt, her staff, and a team of volunteers are working around the clock to sort donations – everything from toothbrushes to toilet paper, to more culturally specific items like rice cookers and headscarves.
Cash donations are always welcomed by the center, but it also has an Amazon wish list. Items from this list will go toward incoming refugee families, many of whom have narrowly escaped dangerous circumstances in Afghanistan.
"This newest group which is going to be people that are parolees, they’re considered humanitarian parolees,” Hoyt said. “They’re coming into the United States from Afghanistan because they’re in immediate danger."