New State Website Launched to Organize Volunteer Support for Afghan Arrivals
Governor Gretchen Whitmer, the Office of Global Michigan and the Michigan Community Service Commission are in need of volunteers to help ease the transition of approximately 1,300 Afghans that are expected to resettle in Michigan within the coming months.
The Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity says a new website has been launched where Michiganders can find volunteer opportunities to support Afghans arriving in Michigan.
“We urge everyone to join us in welcoming these Afghan families to Michigan and ensuring they have the resources they need to succeed,” stated Gov. Whitmer. “We will continue to embrace our duty to honor and protect these families as they flee from violence and political persecution. Especially given the recent treatment of Haitians at our border, we also urge humane treatment of all immigrants arriving to the U.S., regardless of their origin.”
According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Global Michigan has worked with the Michigan State Housing Development Authority (MSHDA) to secure $500,000 of MSHDA funds to temporarily house arriving Afghans until resettlement agencies can secure their permanent housing.
They say arriving Afghans are being assigned to one of Michigan’s five resettlement agencies that have the expertise to offer them support. Those resettlement agencies include: Bethany Christian Services, Jewish Family Services of Washtenaw County, Samaritas, St. Vincent Catholic Charities, and the United States Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) – Dearborn.
Additionally, the Michigan Community Service Commission is supporting organizations serving Afghan evacuees across the state by identifying volunteer roles and donations to support the transition to Michigan for these individuals and families.
The new website will play an important role in helping coordinate and channel the flow of resources to these important organizations. There are opportunities for individuals, families, community teams, nonprofits and corporate teams to volunteer.
According to Poppy Hernandez, Director of the Office of Global Michigan, “The Office of Global Michigan is working closely with our federal, state, private and philanthropic partners to ensure Afghan individuals and families feel welcome and connected with the resources they need. We look forward to working with the Michigan Community Service Commission and supporting organizations serving Afghan evacuees in this effort to identify volunteer roles and donations to ease their transition.”
The new website allows volunteers to share specific resources they can offer for a variety of tasks needed to help support and welcome individuals and families to Michigan. According to the Michigan Department of Labor and Economic Opportunity, Michiganders can volunteer in person or remotely and can donate a variety of goods and services, including financial donations.
The department also states that anyone interested in volunteering should register to join the Volunteer Michigan Afghan Resettlement Team. Those who register will complete a survey to indicate what skills and donations they would like to offer, as well as receive updates about opportunities to serve within selected topics.
“We are so appreciative of the many Michiganders who want to volunteer or offer resources for the Michigan Afghan Resettlement initiative,” said Michigan Community Service Commission Executive Director Ginna Holmes. “We encourage residents to sign up to serve and support our new neighbors.”
To learn more about how you can volunteer to help Afghans arriving in Michigan, click here.