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Volunteers set up home for Afghan refugees

Volunteers set up home for Afghan refugees
Published: Feb. 12, 2022 at 9:11 PM CST
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - It was move-in day, at least for the furniture.

Saturday, the Catherine McAuley Center and volunteers with Mount Mercy University got together to set up a home for an Afghan refugee family. They moved tables, sofas, chairs, and other essentials into an apartment. David Clower, Resettlement Coordinator with the Catherine McAuley Center, said the family should move in the week after next.

He added the center has seen “a massive increase” in the number of refugees in the last few months. “Just in the last 4 months we’ve received 250 Afghans.” Clower said, “Last year, partly as a result of the pandemic, the Catherine McAuley Center resettled well under 100 individuals. I think last I heard was 35.”

Clower also said that, until this point, there was not a well-established Afghan community in Cedar Rapids. “In the past we’ve resettled a lot of refugees from sort of Central Africa. So there is an existing language community. There are grocery stores that cater to them. But the Afghans—who we’ve received a lot of in the last few months—there really isn’t a large existing Afghan population in Cedar Rapids. So we’re working to build those connections and support networks.”

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

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