Afghan Refugee Welcome- new opportunities!
Contact Afghanistan Welcome Coordinator Todd Olberding with any questions
Jesus tells us in the Gospel that when we welcome a stranger, we welcome Christ himself. In our Baptismal Covenant, we promise to respect the dignity of every human being, loving our neighbor as ourselves.
Afghan refugees are arriving in Oklahoma; a total of 1,800 are expected over the next several months. Our Diocese has been invited by Catholic Charities of Oklahoma City to help welcome Afghan refugees. Our welcome is also an interfaith partnership with The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) to welcome our new Oklahoma neighbors as they arrive.
We are actively recruiting teams of volunteers from our congregations to be on call to welcome Afghan neighbors on their arrival. It is important to note that respecting the dignity of our new neighbors requires us to respect their privacy as well as to keep the details of their arrival confidential.
There are also ways to volunteer through CAIR, Council on Islamic-American Relations
1.Welcome Meal Deliveries: We need drivers to pick up meals at the time requested by CAIR staff (it will be between 5:00-10:00pm) from a local restaurant and deliver them to the hotel for new arrivals checking-in to their temporary lodging. Click this link to sign up under "Welcome Meal Deliveries". The restaurant is ZamZams, 3913 N Macarthur Blvd. The hotel where the meals are delivered is near the airport. This is an as-needed opportunity. If CAIR needs welcome meals delivered, you will be contacted via text as soon as we know of arrivals (usually 6-48 hours prior to your shift start), and you will be given detailed instructions.
2.General Deliveries: This is always a daytime volunteer opportunity (noon-5:00pm, you can schedule your delivery within that time frame). This includes the Welcome Basket, which every arrival receives when they get to the hotel. The Welcome Basket contains hygiene items, prayer rugs/beads, Korans, and other necessary supplies. CAIR is located at 3000 United Founders Blvd off NW Expressway. Suite 226. You then drive the basket(s) to the hotel, which is located near the airport. This is an as-needed opportunity. If CAIR needs items delivered, you will be contacted via text as soon as we know of arrivals (usually 6-48 hours prior to your shift start), and you will be given detailed instructions.
3.Food Delivery Driver: This is another daytime volunteer opportunity. Case managers working with our new neighbors contact CAIR with food pantry needs. We notify Deb at Mercy Food Pantry (3840 St Clair Ave,) and fill those orders on Tuesday, Thursdays, and Saturdays. The delivery driver picks up the orders from Mercy Food Pantry and delivers them to the location on the order. This could be the hotel by the airport, Catholic Charities (12th and Classen, dropped off at the front desk for the case manager, whose name you'll be given), or the home of a new neighbor who is now in their permanent housing. This is an as-needed opportunity. If CAIR needs food delivered, you will be contacted via text as soon as we know of arrivals (usually 6-48 hours prior to your shift start), and you will be given detailed instructions.
4.Food Pantry: This is a great volunteer opportunity for families with kids and is a regular volunteer shift. CAIR partners with Mercy Food Pantry (3840 St Clair Ave,), and Deb, the pantry coordinator, needs some help creating snack packs for Afghan neighbors staying at the hotel. Here's a link to signup for this opportunity.
5.Sorting Clothing Donations: This is the perfect role for someone who LOVES to organize and keep things tidy. CAIR received lots of clothing donations -- in fact, too many for the space we have in our offices. We've stopped receiving them until we can organize what we have. We need volunteers on Tuesday, Wednesdays, and Thursdays (two shifts, 11:00-2:00 and 2:00-5:00) to help keep the space organized. New Afghan neighbors come to this space to pick out clothing with their case manager, and we want to make sure they find what they need. This opportunity is at the CAIR office 3000 United Founders Blvd off NW Expressway. Suite 226. Sign up here.