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Team Rubicon in charge of sorting out thousands of donations for Afghan refugees

"We have more than 200,000 items that have come in."
Posted at 6:24 PM, Jan 27, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-28 09:51:51-05

MILWAUKEE — It's a long stand tradition in the Badger State to welcome those in need, such as Afghan refugees.

"Wisconsin has been resettling refugees for almost 50 years," said Bojana Zoric Martinez, Wisconsin Refugee Coordinator.

Afghan refugees first arrived in Wisconsin at Fort McCoy back in August, and now many are settling into their new homes.

Resettlement agencies have been approved to help house more than 800 refugees in Milwaukee.

They're being welcomed with all kinds of donations and as you can imagine, it's a lot of work going through all those items.

Several organizations are working with Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, the Bureau of Refugee Programs to meet the needs of refugees.

"We started working with a lot of different partners including Team Rubicon to help with donations and donation coordination," Zoric Martinez stated.

Items donated for Afghan refugees
Items donated for Afghan refugees

Team Rubicon is a veteran-led organization which now has a new warehouse to keep all of the incredible donations in order.

"We have well over 200,000 items that have already come in here in six weeks, which is even faster than it was coming in at Fort McCoy," Wisconsin Communications Volunteer Lead Kevin Ryan said.

You can find anything from clothing items, to bedding, to a simple toy.

"To watch kids get to ride a bike for the first time, I mean some of these kids have never seen a bike or a big wheel," Ryan said.

He said volunteers now have a big enough space to sort items.

"Once it's counted and inventoried and sorted by different types of goods, men's, women's, boys, girls, shoes, dresses, pants, tops, we can put it in an area where it's ready to go," he said.

That's where resettlement agencies come to get Afghan refugees the items they need.

Martinez said receiving the donations is only the first step.

"This is only a little piece of the puzzle. There's so many other things that will need to happen in order for Afghan guests to become self-sufficient."

Those things include learning English and getting connected to service.

Zuric Martinez said Wisconsinites can donate to any of the six refugee resettlement agencies in Wisconsin.

To learn more about the help needed, click here.

For Team Rubicon's Amazon Wishlist, click here.

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