Saint’s Place working to help Afghan refugees get ready for winter with clothing closet
FAIRPORT, N.Y. (WHEC) — They fled their homes in Afghanistan for a new life in the United States and Saint’s Place is working to help Afghan refugees resettle in Rochester.
Tuesday about 15 Afghan refugees were given free clothing, school supplies, cooking appliances and more as they start their new life.
News10NBC spoke with one dad who says while it’s been hard having to start over, he feels hopeful for the future.
“We were in a base out in Afghanistan,” Ahmad Nashir said. “We were working on duty and all of a sudden it happened and then we just came here.”
It’s been a journey for Ahmad Nashir and his family. They evacuated from Afghanistan in late August and were sent to a camp in Qatar, transferred to Virginia and then went to Fort Dix in New Jersey for two months before finally arriving here in Rochester.
“Everything is different here,” Ahmad said. “Even the weather. I don’t know where to start, but we are so happy to be here. I feel comfort here, you know no war, no fight, no problem I think it’s very good.”
Ahmad worked as an interpreter in the U.S. Embassy in Afghanistan.
He and his family were evacuated as humanitarian parolees and he is currently in the process of getting his Special Immigrant Visa.
While evacuating their luggage got lost, leaving them with nothing but the clothes on their back.
“We didn’t receive any clothes when we were at Fort Dix,” Ahmad said. “They did try a lot. They were trying and giving people clothes and stuff but there used to be a large line every day so I couldn’t stand out there.”
That’s where Saint’s Place stepped in. It housed them at St. John of Rochester and is assisting the nearly 300 refugees coming to Rochester with donations from the community.
“Every refugee gets a brand new winter coat, we have winter boots, hats, scarves and mittens,” Finance Directory Stacey McCarthy said. “We have fancy clothes if they are coming for an interview we just have the whole gambit."
McCarthy said everything is free and the refugees have access to the closet year-round
“It’s just really our pleasure to be able to welcome people who have experienced whether it’s war or famine or economic turmoil or just horrible tragedies that fled their countries to be able to welcome them with our arms out and say how can we help you feel safe and wanted in our communities here,” McCarthy said.
Ahmad said they are grateful for Saint’s Place and the help of the community for making their new life possible.
“We’re good here, we like the city too,” Ahmad said. “Rochester is nice and it’s quite big. It’s good!"
Saint’s Place is currently accepting donations of men’s clothes, kids’ clothes and clean linens and household goods.
If you would like to volunteer or donate, click here.