CHICAGO (WLS) -- Chicago is getting ready to welcome hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan as organizations here promise to offer help to people leaving the country and their families.
Local nonprofits like Muslim Women Resource Center are already helping more than 40 Afghans who have fled to Chicago. Others there were desperate to get relatives out of Afghanistan.
Mohammad, who asked us not to use his full name, said he was a translator for the Marines. He left four years ago, and some of his family is now in hiding.
"Because I'm here, I'm just concerned. I can't sleep," he said. "I'm concerned because my family is there and their life is in danger."
Sima Quraishi, executive director of the social service organization, was an Afghan refugee herself when she was 10. As she helps others now, she fears for some employees still there.
"Now is the time to stand with our Afghans," she said. "It is our responsibility to protect, defend and welcome them."
Quraishi and others participated in a press conference virtually Monday as Chicago is expected to receive 500 Afghans in the coming weeks.
"There have been about 140,000 now who have been evacuated but there are many more who we still hear about who are trying to get to the airport," said Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-IL 9th District).
"We all have an opportunity to prove to these people who risked their lives for us that this is a nation worth fighting for and living for," Senator Dick Durbin said.
Several organizations are teaming up to create the Afghan Task Force. They will have their first meeting Wednesday to begin organizing. They know there will be financial needs and well as the need for volunteers to assist the refugee as mentor and tutors.