SPARTA — An entire community is coming together to help families who fled Afghanistan by dropping off clothes, diapers, and more to ensure they have everything they need to start a new life. Local pastor Neil Nelson heard donations were being collected for Afghan refugees who recently arrived at Fort McCoy. He says it was a no-brainer that he and his congregation wanted to help.
"This is just a great chance for us to help somebody who's going through so much. When you hear stories of people being in the same outfit for 10 days your heart breaks and you want to do whatever you can to help them and bring them some relief," said Nelson. As part of Operation Allies Welcome: Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization, has been managing the donations. They're collecting everything from clothes, shoes, toiletries, and more to give to those who need it the most. "There is a list of the items that we are currently accepting. They are then sorted and re-packed into like items that are delivered to the base to be given to our guests," said Team Rubicon Incident Commander, Jodi Moyer. Stay at home mom of two Shaina Wurdeman donated diapers and clothes. "Just thinking about what it would be like to be in their situation, I have no idea but I would imagine that I would be scared for my family and providing for them. We are definitely going to come back and bring, know they need a lot of shoes and they go through about 1,000 diapers a week, so we'll definitely bring more of those," said Wurdeman. And as donations continue to pile in, volunteers and families in the area hope these items will give refugees some type of comfort. "Their lives have been turned upside down. To come to a country that is completely foreign to them, just to give them a little bit of stability and let them know that we care is a huge boost for our morale and we're hoping it's a boost for there's," said Moyer.