Here's how you can help Afghan refugees arriving at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin

NOW: Here’s how you can help Afghan refugees arriving at Fort McCoy in Wisconsin

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MILWAUKEE, Wis. (CBS 58)-- Volunteer organizations are expecting the number of Afghan refugees seeking shelter at Fort McCoy to triple in the coming days, boosting the immediate need for donations.

There are about 3,000 refugees at Fort McCoy as of Friday, Aug. 27, according to lawmakers.

When Afghans boarded U.S. planes and left home, they weren't allowed to bring bags of personal items. All they have are the clothes on their backs. 

"We want to have (them) starting their new lives off in the best way possible," Senior Associate for Operations at Team Rubicon John Stuhlmacher said.

Team Rubicon is a veteran-led disaster response organization. They've been placed in charge of donation operations at Fort McCoy. 

A proper welcome starts with providing Afghans with what they need most. Right now, that is new, culturally appropriate clothing for all ages, and diapers.

"By culturally appropriate, we mean for long sleeves and no swooping neckline, just a traditional neckline, and long pants," Stuhlmacher said.

To learn more about what is needed and how to donate to Team Rubicon, email: resettlementsupport@teamrubiconusa.org.

More than a dozen non-government agencies are offering a helping hand. 


"I'm hearing that it could be weeks or even months that they're at Fort McCoy," Parish Relations Coordinator with Catholic Charities Jay Sugar said. "We're going to need some help as we move forward."

Catholic Charities has volunteers based on the ground, but they're also collecting donations from the community.

"As you can imagine, the refugees have been through a very traumatic experience," Sugar said. "They left their country with literally the clothes on their backs."

If you live near Milwaukee and would like to help, Sugar said it is best to bring donations to their Milwaukee office, and volunteers will transport them to Fort McCoy. You can find a list of needed items by clicking here.

Organizations like Lutheran Social Services are standing ready to help not just now, but for years to come.

"We want to have people who can pick up the phone and call and check in and say 'how are you doing," Rev. Paul Erickson said. "Those long-standing relationships are really critical."

Lutheran Social Services is accepting monetary donations. You can do that by clicking here.

The Red Cross is also on the ground at Fort McCoy, offering services that range from physical and mental check-ins to getting necessities to refugees. The organization said it is better to donate to their cause financially, rather than with physical items. Learn more or donate by clicking here.

Milwaukee Jewish Community Relations Council is working with its partner, HIAS, to help resettle Afghan refugees. Learn more or donate by clicking here

Officials recommend checking to make sure the organization you donate to is reputable. 

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