Local organization to help Afghan refugees settle, find new homes in St. Joe County

Published: Dec. 9, 2021 at 6:42 PM EST
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) - Several local organizations are preparing to help more Afghan refugees settle in St. Joseph County.

It comes months after having to flee after having to flee following the collapse of the Afghan government to the Taliban.

Behind the doors of 805 Lincoln Way West in South Bend is a staircase that leads to the second floor where opportunities are endless for incoming refugees.

“This room is where we collect our small donations,” Andrea Cramer, founder of Neighbor to Neighbor says.

There, folks can find a room full of donations dedicated to helping refugees new to the area.

“All of the things that you can imagine that you would want in your first apartment, that’s what we’re collecting.”

Things like bed sheets, furniture, toys, pots and pans, books, bottles, and more are being stored all to help Afghan refugees that will soon spend time searching for their new home.

“I feel like it is so important to be welcoming and let people know that they have dignity and they belong. That’s huge, that’s everything. Saying, you know, I just want a place to live. You know someone, just let me live,” Cramer says.

But Cramer says they are going further than just donations. Cramer says she is working on putting together several volunteer team to work with refugees during their first full year in St. Joe County.

“When you are in a new place, what are the things you need? You need to know where the grocery store is, who you’re primary care doctor is going to be, where your kids are going to go to school. All these kinds of things are the same kinds of needs people will be coming with,” Cramer says.

However, Cramer says there is nothing more important than letting incoming refugees know that they belong.

“It can be a hard reality for some newcomers to realize like how it’s a long game to really kind of make it here. If we as a community, if we as a country, can be a part of that, let’s do that,” Cramer says.

Neighbor to Neighbor says it is making it their mission to bring on 75 volunteers to help make the transition for Afghan refugees easier across the South Bend area.

To volunteer, donate, or advocate for incoming Afghan refugees, folks can contact Neighbor to Neighbor directly by visiting their website.

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