The IRC in Charlottesville anticipates resettling an unprecedented number of Afghans in the coming months. Welcoming Greater Charlottesville calls on the community to embrace these newcomers. Here are ways you can support these families as they begin to rebuild their lives.
If you are a landlord (or if you own an apartment or house that is available), we need your help. Some of the families coming here are large; none of them will have jobs when they arrive. The IRC will assure you that their rent is paid - on time. Contact the IRC at Charlottesville@rescue.org.
Due to the housing storage, the IRC has been placing families in hotels temporarily and has an immediate need for gift cards to Walmart and grocery stores to give to families to purchase groceries. Learn more.
We know from experience that refugees are eager to work and support their families. Many have advanced degrees or previously held highly-skilled positions. They are excellent employees. If you own or are running a business and have an opening, let us know. Contact the IRC at Charlottesville@rescue.org. Members of the Chamber of Commerce, the Downtown Business Association of Charlottesville talk to your members. Ask them to step up and help meet this need.
If you live in a neighborhood where some of them settle, come over and greet them. Consider bringing a small gift to their home (but not wine). Invite them to neighborhood activities. Offer to drive them to the store or shopping.
If you have kids in a school where refugees are arriving, talk with your kids about what it means to be a refugee, about how tough it can be to come to a new country not knowing the language or culture. Encourage your kids to befriend the arriving Afghans, as well as any newcomers to their school. JMRL has a reading list to help you have these conversations.
Many refugees are offered jobs that aren't near a bus line. Ask members of your association if anyone has a car that's in good shape that they could donate. If a car is donated to the IRC to pass along at their discretion, it is fully tax deductible. If someone wants to give their car to a specific person, it’s a gift and not tax deductible. Learn more.
English Language Learning
Volunteer to be a tutor. We have excellent English as a second language programs here. Contact Literacy Volunteers, Thomas Jefferson Adult Career Education, or the IRC.
Sponsor a Family
This is powerful way to make a real difference. It’s also a large commitment, something that needs to be done by a group. If you’re in a faith community, a civic group, run a decent size business, part of a well-organized neighborhood association, please consider sponsoring a family. Learn more.
Hundreds of local families remain separated from loved ones as travel within and out of Afghanistan has become increasingly difficult. International Neighbors is providing assistance to complete the lengthy and expensive process of applying to bring family members to safety. It takes $525 and several hours to complete the paperwork. Learn more about how you can support this effort.