Villa Park volunteers prepare to welcome Afghan refugees

VILLA PARK, Ill. (WLS) – At the Villa Park Islamic Foundation, a group of volunteers began preparing to welcome families evacuated from Afghanistan as US troops retreated.

The group collected items and tried to find accommodation for these families.

“Housing, food, clothing, basic needs and their transition and installation into community life; providing English classes and driving lessons, ”said Shahla Chaudhry, president of community relations.

The exact arrivals are not known, but partner organizations have asked Villa Park volunteers to prepare. Previously, Illinois was expected to host thousands of Afghans.

“It is truly heartbreaking to see these young children who went through this trauma and what they went through,” said Irshad Khan, chairman of the Greater Chicago Council of Islamic Organizations.

Khan said their interpreters were there to help a group of unaccompanied minors and more volunteers would be needed, as well as houses.

“Housing for these families coming into town, families of four and five, finding them temporary solutions, providing them with that assistance, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Khan. “We should help them with open arms.”

“Our faith teaches us that we are to help each other, all of God’s creations we are to help,” Chaudhry said.

Ways to help include foster parent workshops at Villa Park Mosque, and the Council of Islamic Organizations will be hosting virtual sessions on how to support arriving families.

Greater Chicago Council of Islamic Organizations Helpline: 247-737-1785

Click here to make financial donations at the Villa Park Islamic Foundation.

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