Volunteers set up a home for Afghan refugees

CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) — It was move-in day, at least for the furniture.

On Saturday, the Catherine McAuley Center and volunteers from Mount Mercy University came together to create a home for an Afghan refugee family. They moved tables, sofas, chairs and other essentials in an apartment. David Clower, relocation coordinator at the Catherine McAuley Center, said the family is expected to move the following week.

He added that the center has seen “a massive increase” in the number of refugees in recent months. “In the last 4 months alone, we have received 250 Afghans. Clower said: “Last year, partly due to the pandemic, the Catherine McAuley Center resettled far fewer than 100 people. I think the last time I heard of it was 35 years ago.

Clower also said that, until now, there was no well-established Afghan community in Cedar Rapids. “In the past, we have resettled many refugees from a kind of central Africa. There is therefore an existing linguistic community. There are grocery stores that take care of them. But the Afghans—whom we’ve had in large numbers over the past few months—there really isn’t a significant Afghan population in Cedar Rapids. So we strive to create these links and support the networks. »

He says his goal is to see “this community come together to welcome people”. He added, “I want to make Cedar Rapids a home for everyone.”

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