Organizations Prepare to Welcome Hundreds of Afghan Refugees to Chicago Area

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The Chicago area is expected to welcome nearly 400 Afghan refugees beginning Feb. 7, and local social service organizations are asking for the public’s help to provide food, housing and resettlement assistance.

The Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago said the federal government requested that it coordinate efforts to assist the refugees.

“Illinois is a welcoming state and we know Illinois has a really big heart as we have done in the past welcome lot of refugees in Illinois, especially in Chicago, and we are calling out on all those who are willing to help and support these Afghan refugees,” said Irshad Khan, chairman of the CIOGC.

CIOGC said it is calling for people to volunteer their time to help the refugees and for landlords to offer housing at discounted prices. Information about volunteer opportunities is available on the council's website.

Organizers said the goal is to support refugees for one year so they can learn the language and get job readiness skills.

ICNA Relief, located in the Rogers Park neighborhood, provides food, clothing and housewares to refugees.

“Our country has brought them here. It’s our responsibility to make sure that they are in good hands and they should not be left without anything,” said Atya Kazmi of ICNA Relief.

Those looking to provide assistance can find details here.

Arab American Family Services, located in south suburban Worth, said it is preparing to assist 100 Afghan refugees expected to arrive in the weeks ahead.

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