49 Afghan refugees to arrive in Baton Rouge; Catholic Charities ask public for donations, help

Louisiana

BATON ROUGE, La. (BRPROUD) — Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Baton Rouge (CCDBR) will be receiving 49 Afghan refugees and they’re asking the public for donations or help as refugees acclimate to American life.

“The American people have shown an overwhelming desire to help those from Afghanistan who risked
their lives and the lives of their family members to help our troops,” said David C. Aguillard, executive
director of CCDBR.

“We estimate this number will represent about 12 families who may begin arriving by the end of
September. The news has come to us quickly, and we still have some details to work out for each
arrival. But this type of work is a critical part of Catholic Charities’ Gospel mission, a work it initiated in
the 1960s with arrivals from Cuba after the revolution there,” he said.

Afghan refugees will be fully vaccinated and tested for COVID-19, according to a news release from CCDBR. After arrival, they will be able to receive services such as rental assistance, job training and placement and orientation classes. Within the federally funded program, Afghan refugees will have access to benefits for 90 days unless Congress chooses to extend those benefits.

CCDBR is asking the public to lend a helping hand as they prepare to welcome refugees traveling to Baton Rouge.

“Successful resettlements depend on the community reaching out and embracing arriving families,”
Aguillard said. “We can use sponsors to help people learn how to, for example, take a bus around our
city. How to use 9-1-1 services. How to schedule a medical appointment. While housing is provided,
furniture is not. We have a desperate need for furniture because of the number arriving in a
compressed time frame. Catholic Charities has experience with helping people who have assisted our
troops. We did it after the Vietnam War, we did it after the wars in Iraq.

“These are a special group of people who have taken on extraordinary risks for themselves. I’ve seen
other refugees who have helped our troops roll up their sleeves to show shrapnel wounds absorbed
protecting American lives. I’ve felt metal lumped in their arms,” Aguillard said.

Anyone who wishes to help can visit CatholicCharitiesBR.org/AfghanRefugees.

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