How You Can Help Afghan Refugees

Crowded group of people in Afghanistan looking expectantly. Small children staring at the photographer.

Imagine needing to escape your country of birth in a life-or-death frenzy with little time to prepare.  

That’s exactly what happened to thousands of Afghans who helped American forces over the twenty years of war. Over 50,000 people from Afghanistan have arrived at U.S. military installations for screening and processing as refugees and Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) holders.  From there, resettlement agencies across the country will provide support for the first few months in this new country.

'Refugees Welcome' is seen painted on a building near downtown Detroit.

Washington State is preparing to welcome over 1600 evacuees in the next few months, according to the Seattle Times. They will join the thousands of Afghan migrants who arrived in the last decade and are contributing to the Washington economy.  King County will be home to the largest group of Afghan SIV holders. Yet, even with an established community, affordable housing is going to be a challenge for many of the families. Immigrants who worked for the US government have English skills, but most other family members face the struggle of learning a new culture in addition to the language.

Whenever a natural disaster or emergency strikes, one of the year-round resources we offer our employees is a one-stop list of King County Employee Giving Program nonprofits that are responding. Workplace Giving dollars are incredibly valuable for these organizations to plan for the unexpected and invest in long-term services.  Bookmark this page; we’ll add more organizations as they are approved!

Below are some of the Employee Giving Program nonprofits (along with their organization number) that are helping Afghan refugees resettle. Please note, there are many nonprofits in various states that are not in the Employee Giving Program and giving to any reputable organization makes a difference in the lives of refugees.

EGP Nonprofits Assisting Afghan Refugees

International Rescue Committee in Seattle (EGP code 5701)

The International Rescue Committee provides opportunities for refugees, asylees, victims of human trafficking, survivors of torture, and other immigrants to thrive in America. Each year, thousands of people, forced to flee violence and persecution, are welcomed by the people of the United States into the safety and freedom of America. In Seattle and other offices across the country, the IRC helps them to rebuild their lives.

Islamic Relief USA-IRUSA (EGP code 3595)

Islamic Relief USA provides relief and development in a dignified manner regardless of gender, race, or religion, and works to empower individuals in their communities and give them a voice in the world. For Afghan families that are now in the United States, IRUSA teams are working with partners to reach families and provide them with support and essential items to help them as they arrive and transition to a life in our communities.

Jewish Family Service (EGP code 9225)

Jewish Family Service (JFS) helps vulnerable individuals and families in the Puget Sound region achieve well-being, health and stability. JFS is preparing to welcome Afghan refugees, including family members of JFS employees, when they arrive.

Lutheran Community Services Northwest (EGP code 9362)

Lutheran Community Services Northwest partners with individuals, families and communities for health, justice and hope.  LCSNW works with thousands of refugees and immigrants each year to help them rise above their challenges, build upon the strength and courage that got them here, and support their hopes to become vital contributors to our communities. They have services for families and a foster care program for unaccompanied minors.

Refugee Women’s Alliance (ReWA) (EGP code 9746)

ReWA was founded by Southeast Asian women who suffered in isolation after coming the US, and vowed that future refugees to the Puget Sound would have a place to learn English, find jobs, and be empowered to rebuild their lives

World Relief Seattle (EGP code 9894)

World Relief Seattle equips churches and community members with the information they need to educate, advocate and take action on behalf of our immigrant neighbors. They work to change systems and resulting injustices that marginalize refugees and other immigrants in the U.S.

11.26.21 update: related King County article