PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5)-- Arizona's Family is learning more about how many refugees from Afghanistan are in Arizona. It has now been a little more than two months since the Taliban took over Afghanistan. Many families fled as the Taliban took over and arrived in the United States with nothing.
Now, members of the community are helping them kick-start their new lives. "They have been traumatized with everything you have seen going on over there,” said Jean Christofferson, Director of Marketing and Communications at Catholic Charities.
Catholic Charities is one of many organizations working to help create a good life for refugees arriving in Arizona.
The State Department's watchdog has opened a number of reviews related to the US exit from Afghanistan, according to a letter from the acting inspector general obtained by CNN.
"When they arrived to the United States, they were likely given some of the basic supplies because they didn’t have anything more than the clothes on their back,” Christofferson said. “They really are starting over completely.”
Christofferson said so far, the organization has helped four families resettle in Arizona, but they are planning for more.
“We pick them up at the airport and take them to a new home which is typically an apartment or small house we have rented,” Christofferson said. “We help them get their kids enrolled in school. We work with them to make sure they are signed up for food stamps.”
According to the Arizona Department of Economic Security, 148 Afghan refugees have come to Arizona so far, and 1,610 are expected to arrive through March. “They evacuated very quickly,” Christofferson said.
Christofferson said the community stepped up instantly to help. “We have had 200 volunteer inquiries so far,” said Christofferson.
The organization does receive some money from the government but says local help and donations are needed to make sure refugees live a sustainable life.
“They are starting over, so they are going to need everything,” Ronda Cross with AmeriCorps VISTA said. “The impact of these donations are unmeasurable for the refugees that are coming. We want them to feel welcomed and that this community is excited to have them here.”
If you want to help, they need things like bedding, kitchen supplies, and bikes and toys for kids. Also, with winter ahead, they are looking for coats and jackets. The organization has a volunteer sign-up and Amazon Wish list; you can find that here.