Villa Park volunteers prepare to welcome Afghan refugees

VILLA PARK, Ill. (WLS) -- At the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park, a group of volunteers began preparing to welcome families who were evacuated from Afghanistan as American troops withdrew.

The group has been collecting items and trying to find housing for these families.

"Housing, food, clothing, basic needs, and transition them and settle them into community life; providing English classes and driving lessons," said Shahla Chaudhry, community relations chair.

Exact arrivals are not known, but partner organizations have told the Villa Park volunteers to prepare. Previously, it was anticipated Illinois would welcome thousands of Afghans.

"It's really heartbreaking to see those young kids who have been through this trauma and what they have been through," said Irshad Khan, chairman of the Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago.

Khan said their interpreters were there to assist a group of unaccompanied minors, and more volunteers will be needed, as well as homes.

"Housing for these families coming in town, families of four and five, finding some temporary solutions for them, to provide that assistance is what we are looking for," Khan said. "We should be helping them with open arms."

"Our faith teaches us we have to help one another, all of God's creations we have to help," said Chaudhry.

Among the ways to help include workshops on become a foster parent at the Villa Park mosque, and the Council of Islamic Organizations will be hosting virtual sessions on ways to support arriving families.

Council of Islamic Organizations of Greater Chicago help line: 247-737-1785

Click here to make financial donations to the Islamic Foundation of Villa Park.
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