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MADISON — On Thursday, Gov. Tony Evers announced opportunities for people hoping to provide essential items to Afghan individuals and families currently staying at Fort McCoy. The effort, coordinated by the Evers Administration through Wisconsin Emergency Management and the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families, offers an easy way for interested individuals to help those seeking refuge here in the United States. 

“Wisconsinites have a proud tradition of rolling up our sleeves to help our neighbors when times are tough, and since learning folks leaving Afghanistan would be coming through Wisconsin, Wisconsinites have been asking what they can do to help,” said Gov. Evers. “I want to thank the organizations and partners who are stepping up to offer their support and for helping to ensure Wisconsinites know how they can best help and donate to these efforts as they’re able.”

Many of the individuals and families currently residing at Fort McCoy were unable to bring luggage or personal items, resulting in significant demand for necessities. The state is working closely with Team Rubicon and Catholic Charities agencies in Wisconsin, which are collecting and distributing supplies. 

To ensure health and safety of individuals and families at Fort McCoy, groups prefer new items, which can also help ensure expedited processing. Clean, new clothing and footwear are among items that are of the highest priority and need at this time. 

Catholic Charities of La Crosse has already been actively working to collect donations of new items and has set up multiple ways for people to provide supplies by simply shopping online. You can find a full list of the items needed, along with links to online shopping lists through major retailers, here. Catholic Charities is also committed to using monetary donations for items in need at Fort McCoy and refugee resettlement in the Wisconsin communities.

Businesses and other groups with large quantities of new clothing, footwear, and other items to donate can contact Team Rubicon at Resettlementsupport@teamrubiconusa.org or using the online form available here. Team Rubicon, a veteran-led disaster response organization, is working to establish a collection system for these larger donations to ensure they can be properly distributed to those staying at Fort McCoy. More information on Team Rubicon’s current donation needs is available here.

While donation locations are currently limited, the state plans to open more locations across the state in the coming weeks. Individuals who are not near a location can still support local relief efforts by making a monetary donation directly to Catholic Charities of La Crosse at https://cclse.org/. Additionally, individuals can support efforts across the nation by donating to the American Red Cross at https://www.redcross.org/.

The Department of Children and Families website will be updated as new donation locations and organizations are identified. You can find the current list of organizations here. Citizens are encouraged to research any organization not provided on DCF’s list prior to making a monetary or supply donation to ensure the organization is legitimate and donations are being used appropriately. 

To learn more about Wisconsin’s role in the refugee resettlement program and process, please visit: https://dcf.wisconsin.gov/refugee/resettlement#overseas

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