Virginia has become the hub of a widening effort to resettle thousands of people evacuated from Afghanistan as the United States prepares to withdraw troops from the Taliban-controlled country by Aug. 31.
Fort Lee, near Petersburg, is one of four U.S. Army posts that the government is relying on to temporarily house Afghans with special immigrant visas and their families. The first 221 immigrants under Operation Allied Refuge — 206 adults and 15 infants — arrived at Fort Lee on July 30.
Fort Lee and three other Army posts — Fort Bliss in Texas, Fort Dix in New Jersey and Fort McCoy in Wisconsin — can handle up to 25,000 people.
In the Richmond area, local businesses are helping collect donated supplies for the refugees headed for Fort Lee. The supplies needed include personal hygiene products, travel kits for both men and women, snacks (that are manufacturer wrapped), and games, toys, puzzles, and coloring books for children.
Woody and Nelsen Funeral Homes said all five of its Richmond-area locations will accept donated supplies, which it will deliver to the Islamic Center of Virginia, which will get the items to Fort Lee.
“For anyone watching the heartrending images on the news from Afghanistan right now and wishing there was something they could do to help, this is a great opportunity to make a very real local impact for these families,” said Lacyn Barton, president of Woody and Nelsen Funeral Homes, in a statement.
Donation Drop Off Locations
Woody Funeral Homes at:
- 1771 N. Parham Road, Henrico County
- 1020 Huguenot Road, Midlothian
- 9271 Shady Grove Road, Mechanicsville
Nelsen Funeral Homes at:
- 4650 S. Laburnum Ave., Richmond
- 412 S. Washington Hwy., Ashland
The Islamic Center of Virginia is collecting monetary donations for refugees through its website at icva1.com.
The International Rescue Committee in Richmond is also collecting donations at help.rescue.org/donate/us-richmond-va as well as managing a Target wish list registry, which can be found on Target’s website by searching IRC in Richmond’s Charity Registry.