PHILADELPHIA -- Officials are asking for the public's help as hundreds of Afghan evacuees arrive and resettle in the Philadelphia region.
More than 2,300 evacuees have been processed through PHL as of August 31.
"I'm very pleased with the high level of coordination occurring at PHL Airport to best welcome Afghan evacuees into our country," said Mayor Jim Kenney. "I thank all of the City departments involved as well as state and federal agencies, local hospitals, non-profit partners, and volunteers who have stepped up to aid our Afghan brothers and sisters during this critical time.
Many of the evacuees coming to Philadelphia do not speak English. To communicate with them, the city is asking for help from volunteers who can interpret in Dari, Pashto, Urdu, or Farsi.
All volunteers who can provide interpretation services are required to be members of the Philadelphia Medical Reserve Corps (MRC).
To sign up, visit the SERVPA website and select "Medical Reserve Corps Organizations" from the Choose Organization drop-down menu, then select Philadelphia MRC" from the secondary Select Organization menu. The MRC is actively reviewing applications and will be in touch as soon as possible.
The best way to support relief organizations is through monetary donations to vetted groups that are providing immediate and long-term aid. In Philadelphia, the City's Office of Immigrant Affairs is working with Nationalities Services Center and HIAS Pennsylvania.
If you wish to donate material goods, the The Jersey Shore Chief Petty Officers Association has created an Amazon wish list of goods and materials to donate directly to incoming refugees. Items will be delivered to the US Coast Guard Atlantic Strike team, with the intention to redistribute to nonprofit organizations operating in conjunction with Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst.
HIAS Pennsylvania is also accepting in-kind donations.
Donations are not being accepted at the Philadelphia International Airport at this time.
The Wardrobe, a nonprofit with locations in Philadelphia and Lansdowne, Pa., is accepting clothing donations for refugees. The organization partnered with Nationalities Service Center, another local nonprofit that is helping Afghan refugees resettle in America.
Volunteers are collecting donations that keep culture in mind. That includes modest clothing for both men and women.
Suggested donations include scarves for both men and women, long shirts, pants, tunics, and conservative dresses. Cole adds that some of the refugees are open to wearing western clothing as long as it's conservative. The group is also requesting donations of toiletries and new undergarments and socks.
The Wardrobe assembles the items into a box which they give to refugees after receiving information on preferences from Nationalities Service Center.
Donations are accepted on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays at both of The Wardrobe's locations: 413 N. 4th Street in Philadelphia, and 62 W. Marshall Rd. in Lansdowne. Donations may also be dropped off on a different day by calling ahead at 215-568-6693.