BUFFALO, N.Y. — The images of people trying to flee Afghanistan late last month are still fresh in our minds. Now the effort turns to resettling who got out of the country.
Representatives from local refugee resettlement agencies met with government officials to discuss the trends and issues they're facing.
The Western New York Refugee and Asylum Consortium is a collaborative effort between the Catholic Charities of Buffalo, International Institute of Buffalo, Jericho Road Community Health Center, Jewish Family Services of Western New York and Journey’s End Refugee Services.
WYNRAC started the campaign, Buffalo United for Afghans, to help resettle 350 Afghans in Buffalo.
Senator Sean Ryan applauds the city's efforts in welcoming refugees.
“We are so proud of how our community has come together to resettle refugees, immigrants and people coming into our community, but we want to really amplify it," Ryan said. "With the end of the war in Afghanistan and many Afghan allies on their way to the United States, it is pivotal that we here in Buffalo are doing all we can to make sure this is a welcoming and safe place. We know that when these new Buffalonians are in a position to succeed, their prosperity benefits our city. Our world-class resettlement agencies are ready, our state is ready, and our city is ready to welcome Afghans and all refugees to their new home."
The campaign also hopes to raise $750,000 to cover cost of living while refugees await the outcome of their petitions for permanent resettlement.
"We continue to be amazed by this community," Jenny Rizzo-Choi, interim executive director at the International Institute of Buffalo, said. "In the two weeks since the Buffalo United for Afghan Evacuees campaign was announced, we have seen a truly overwhelming outpouring of support on behalf of Afghan evacuees. We have received over $60,000 in individual donations, several pledged institutional gifts, and hundreds of inquiries about volunteer opportunities and donations of goods. We are so grateful to those who have stepped forward to make contributions. We are also grateful to our partner WNYRAC agencies for their collaboration and creativity as we address these new challenges and for our partners in state government whose leadership ensures that upstate cities, like Buffalo, are prepared to welcome refugees into our communities."