Major donation drive gathers supplies for Afghan refugees

Thousands could arrive at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst

At the Islamic Center of Passaic County, volunteers move car to car taking in donations, from baby food to diapers to tooth brushes and clothing.

Sikandar Khan, founder and executive director of Global Emergency Response & Assistance, one of the organizations running this donation drive, said, “It’s really heartbreaking because a lot of families basically ran out of their homes to try to get to Kabul airport; some of them are missing shoes. There’s hundreds of kids coming in without parents. There are female, males with ripped clothes. They came with literally nothing.” 

Khan said he has been in constant contact with Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, to find out what additional items are needed for the nearly 1,200 Afghan refugees who have already arrived there. Up to 10,000 are expected to eventually take temporary shelter there. 

The Pentagon late Monday afternoon announced it has completed the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, ending America’s longest war. As the final planes leave the airport, military officials say they have evacuated 6,000 American citizens, representing the “vast majority” of Americans who wish to leave. But thousands of Afghans eligible for special immigrant visas and their families have not yet been able to get out.

Chasing the Dream: Poverty and Opportunity in America is a multiplatform public media initiative that provides a deeper understanding of the impact of poverty on American society. Major funding for this initiative is provided by the JPB Foundation. Additional funding is provided by Ford Foundation. 

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