FRANKLIN, Ind. — As Afghan refugees continue to settle into Camp Atterbury, there is a growing need for clothing and supplies.
“They left their country, and for all intents and purposes, they will never go back,” says Russell Hessler, a donation site commander for Team Rubicon. The non-profit organization is working with the Department of Defense to coordinate donations at Afghan refugee sites. “They have pretty much what they left with,” adds Hessler.
Team Rubicon’s donation site is outside of Camp Atterbury and has been up for about a week. Some workers are even sleeping there.
The biggest needs are baby diapers and formula. You can find a full list of needs here. Next on the major list is clothes. Due to COVID, they need items that are new. Any used clothes should go to the Salvation Army or Goodwill for refugee distribution. There is also a need for safe toys like soccer balls.
“The first couple days on the base, I was driving around, and we saw idleness. Kids not having stuff to do,” says Hessler, “We can’t allow objects that might harm someone else, so baseball bats we can’t take.”
At times, refugees are left with just their cell phones to pass the time. It is turning charging capabilities into an unexpected necessity and need.
“Not so much the cables themselves, but the plug-in block because the vast majority are coming from a mechanical system that isn’t the two-prong system,” says Michael Martel Operations Associate with Team Rubicon.
Martel also asks Hoosiers to donate clothing that doesn’t have labels, or major brands.
“If you give someone a higher-end brand name it could create issues if someone gets something that’s not,” explains Martel.
If you are looking to donate to Team Rubicon, the non-profit suggests doing so by forming a local drive or group donation. The bulk deliveries can be dropped off at their site near Camp Atterbury at 5921 Schoolhouse Road in Franklin.