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Collaborative campaign launched to help 350 Afghan evacuees bound for Buffalo

Buffalo United for Afghan Evacuees was launched by five area organizations that make up the Western New York Refugee and Asylee Consortium.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Five area organization are launching a campaign to assist 350 Afghan evacuees who are moving to Buffalo.

Buffalo United for Afghan Evacuees is an initiative started by Western New York Refugee and Asylee Consortium (WNYRAC) that is working to raise $750,000 to help with the cost of living.

WNYRAC is comprised of  Catholic Charities of Buffalo, International Institute of Buffalo, Jericho Road Community Health Center, Jewish Family Services of Western New York, and Journey’s End Refugee Services.

"This is a very fluid situation," Eva Hassett of the International Institute said. "As I think you all know, it's been changing fast and will continue to change fast, but one thing we know is that community members need help the members who are coming. The evacuees, they're just human beings right? We get caught up in terms "refugees," "immigrants," "evacuees." These are human beings."

Evacuees are not given access to services and programs funded by the U.S. government that refugees and Special Immigrant Visa holders who help the military mission receive. WNYRAC started the initiative to make sure these evacuees basic needs of housing, health care, nutrition, schooling for children, and financial assistance are met. 

"Afghan evacuees caught in this humanitarian crisis deserve the same opportunities traditionally afforded to refugees as they face the challenges of restarting their lives in a new country and culture," said Deacon Steve Schumer, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Buffalo. 

"The Buffalo United for Afghan Evacuees collaborative effort will demonstrate the compassion and generosity of our community to these individuals and families, and give them hope and real help for long-term sustainability."

In addition to fundraising, the organization plans on meeting evacuees needs by gathering in-kind donations, providing housing set-ups with help from the community, and advocacy for increasing federal support.

For more information on how you may be able to help visit: wnyrac.org