Over the past few weeks, the Afghan Circle of the Hudson Valley has formed,. to welcome, resettle and integrate a family or small group of individual Afghan refugees to this area. Our Circle is made up of dedicated local volunteers uniting in a grassroots effort to assist the remaining exiles now living in tents on US Army bases. Many of these assisted the US over the past 20 years there.  As we prepare for them, our immediate needs are for housing and funds. The housing would be for a 2-3 bedroom apartment, mother daughter house or private home in the area, rents which the Circle will pay. The funding is to support the family for 3-6 months or until such time as they become financially self-sufficient. See: www.afghancirclehudsonvalley.org for more info.

Regarding funding, our Circle is pleased to acknowledge the Westchester Jewish Coalition for Immigrants (WJCI), which has given us a start-up matching grant to supplement our fundraising. We are also pleased to thank the dozens of supporters out there who have also contributed, monies which go 100% to the effort. Once they arrive here, we know they will be met with a warm welcome. The need then will be for viable employment for the head of household, means of transportation, and much paperwork to get them into our “systems”. And until the family arrives here we cannot accept furniture, clothing or household items for them.

Finally, a big “shout-out” to local organizations that are supporting our work: United Way Ulster County, YMCA Ulster-Kingston, SUNY Ulster, Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, and many food pantries, churches, synagogues and Islamic organizations in the area, as well as other local Circles and national Immigration Agencies. As the Statue of Liberty’s Emma Lazarus wrote, “Give me your tired, your poor, Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free, The wretched refuse of your teeming shore. Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me, I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

Harv Hilowitz, Susan Sprachman
Afghan Circle of the Hudson Valley