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Community organizations team up to help support Afghan families in San Antonio, still need more volunteers

At least 3,000 Afghans have resettled in San Antonio since the fall of 2021. There is an ongoing need for people willing to help them adjust to their new lives.

SAN ANTONIO — In just six months, at least 3,000 Afghan refugees have brought rich culture, perspectives, and skills to the Alamo City. Still, many are struggling to readjust to their new lives after fleeing Afghanistan. 

Saturday morning, Interfaith San Antonio Alliance and Culturalingua held their third 'Communities of Welcome' event. Dozens of organizations and agencies attended to help Afghan families connect with necessary resources. 

"The program was born out of the need to enable new Afghan refugees to better integrate into society and to feel a sense of belonging," said Nadia Mavrakis, Culturalinga CEO. 

"Many of them are feeling heartbroken having left family and friends behind, some are thinking of going back and we want them to know that they are welcome here," she said. 

Mavrakis said those interested in volunteering or learning more about support Afghan families can do so here

Michele Brinkley, Chair of the nonprofit Celebration Circle, started supporting one Afghan family last week, but said there are many more in need of support. 

"When we met them we realized that they had no food, no money, no medical care, the kids still aren’t in school, and I’m really concerned about that," Brinkley said. 

She has been helping the Rahimi family of nine with accessing food at the food bank, finding employment, and organizing friends and family to donate clothes. 

"He [father of the family]  has a job that he’s gonna start next week, and he’s very hopeful about that, but they still need a lot of things, and that’s just one family." 

The father fled Afghanistan and was sent to a refugee camp in Virginia before moving to San Antonio three months ago. In Afghanistan, Rahimi was a mechanic working for the United States Army. 

After arriving in the United States, his translator said, "most of the time, his kids were asking for basic needs, basic necessities, but he was out of cash, he didn’t have the food stamps to support his family." 

Brinkley plans to help the family enroll their children in school this week. 

"Again it’s not the only family, we’ve got 3,000 refugees here that are desperate, so we just need more people," she said. 

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