As thousands of Afghan immigrants and refuge-seekers arrive in the United States each day, two faith-based organizations have joined together to offer urgently needed assistance to families and individuals settling in Greater Boston.
Combined Jewish Philanthropies and Catholic Charities last week announced the Fund for Afghan Immigrants and Refugees, amid news from Kabul of people desperately scrambling to find ways out of the country.
The fund, with a link on CJP’s website, https://www.cjp.org, will provide direct support for new arrivals to Boston, including food, housing, employment assistance and other basic needs for Afghan families and individuals settling in Greater Boston through Catholic Charities and Jewish Vocational Service. The fund announcement also includes other ways the community can help, including providing leads on housing and sponsorship for families through the Jewish Community Relations Council of Greater Boston.
“Our Jewish values and our history compel us to act. As Jews, we have been the stranger. Doors have been closed to us. We know that pain of no one helping us – and so we know we must help,” Dr. Sarah Abramson, CJP’s senior vice president of Strategy and Impact, said. “There are tens of thousands of people arriving in the United States every day. These are people who were our allies during the 20-year war and they’re starting over, often with nothing but the clothes on their backs. They need our help urgently to start new lives here.”
After a deadly terror attack in Kabul last week that killed 13 U.S. military personnel and at least 170 Afghans, reports say, the humanitarian need has only intensified in the rush to get people to safety.
This is the third time that CJP and Catholic Charities have combined forces to help those seeking safety in the United States. Over the past five years, the organizations launched initiatives to help families and children separated at the U.S. border, including legal aid for those seeking refugee status.
Kevin MacKenzie, CEO of Catholic Charities, said the funds will help fill the gap between the limited support provided by the federal government and the needs of arriving Afghan families. In 2017, CJP and Catholic Charities raised more than $600,000 to support refugee and immigrant services.
“Though the U.S. government provides a small stipend to the Afghan refugees and the resettlement agency, the full cost of relocation will require the generosity of private donors,” MacKenzie said. “We are thankful for the opportunity to work together with CJP, as together we are able to have a more significant impact on serving those in need of all backgrounds.”
The community has responded as well, with CJP and Catholic Charities receiving nearly $50,000 from hundreds of donors within two days of launching the fundraising effort.
To learn more about the fund or to make a donation, visit www.cjp.org/FAIR.