How Can I Help?

Refugees arrive with little beyond the clothes they are wearing and often are very unfamiliar with American ways of life. You can make a real difference by offering your time, skills and gifts to help welcome new Wisconsin residents from a refugee background. 

Supporting Afghan Individuals and Families at Fort McCoy

We know that many Wisconsinites are interested in helping these individuals and families. The below agencies are in need of donations and/or volunteers.

Please note that to ensure the health and safety of individuals and families at Fort McCoy, groups prefer new items, which can also help ensure expedited processing. 

Catholic Charities

Catholic Charities of La Crosse is collecting donations of new items and has set up multiple ways for people to provide supplies by simply shopping online. Their website includes a full list of the items needed, along with links to online shopping lists through major retailers. Catholic Charities is also committed to using monetary donations for items in need at Fort McCoy and refugee resettlement in the Wisconsin communities. If you are interested in volunteering a week or two of your time, please send an inquiry to info@cclse.org.

Team Rubicon

Businesses and other groups with large quantities of new clothing, footwear and other items to donate can contact Team Rubicon at Resettlementsupport@teamrubiconusa.org. Additionally, citizens can shop their Amazon wish list which includes highly needed items. Sign up to volunteer with Team Rubicon here.

Journey Disaster Response Team

The Journey Disaster Response Team is working together, under the direction of the Wisconsin Emergency Management and Department of Military Affairs in Madison, to gather supplies and prepare logistical support to the incoming Afghan community guests. Their website includes a full list of items needed and donation center locations.

Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition

The Milwaukee Muslim Women's Coalition is working with contributing partners and organizations to provide a list of donation collection sites across Wisconsin. Their website includes a full list of items needed and donation center locations. If you are an organization, business, or institution and would like to be a collection site or contributing partner, please contact staff@mmwconline.org.

The Salvation Army

The Salvation Army is collecting donations of new items, as well as monetary donations. Their website includes a list of needed items, addresses of facilities across the state that are open for drop offs, and how you can make a monetary donation. 

Goodwill

Goodwill of South Central Wisconsin Donation Centers are serving as collection points for NEW items as identified by Team Rubicon. Check out their website for the nearest location to your home or business.

Welcome.us

Welcome.US is a non-partisan, not-for-profit initiative which aims to channel and amplify the amazing outpouring of support from the American public for newcomers arriving from Afghanistan. It also offers a single point of entry for individuals to learn how best to contribute their time and resources. Check out their website to sign up to volunteer your time and resources, sponsor a family, and host a family.

Not Near a Donation Site?

While donation locations are currently limited, the state plans to open more locations across the state in the coming weeks. Individuals who are not near a location can still support local relief efforts by making a monetary donation directly to Catholic Charities of La Crosse. Additionally, individuals can support efforts across the nation by donating to the American Red Cross.

This website will be updated as new donation locations and organizations are identified. Citizens are encouraged to research any organization not provided on DCF’s list prior to making a monetary or supply donation to ensure the organization is legitimate and donations are being used appropriately.

This information is also available in PDF format to print and share. 

Some Examples of Ways You Can Help

Volunteer: Refugees that arrive to Wisconsin from overseas may need help practicing English, doing their homework, learning American customs, or becoming a part of their new local community.

Donate: Refugees often arrive with few personal possessions. Clothing, school supplies, personal hygiene products, furniture, and other household goods are often valuable items that you could donate to a new family.

Fundraise: Refugees arrive with varying amounts of money, but most could use a little extra support as they get started, until they start work (which is usually very soon after arrival). Additional financial support can help pay for a first month’s rent, new clothes, a utility bill, or some of the small comforts that we all enjoy. Alternatively, many of the organizations that serve refugees are non-profit organizations that depend on the financial support of generous local Wisconsin residents. Fundraising to make a financial gift to a local organization could directly benefit one refugee family, or it could help provide valuable resettlement services to many!

Advocate: Refugee resettlement is built on a model of community support. Helping to build support for refugees among your neighbors, place of work, family, and friends can increase your impact on newly arriving refugee communities.

Connect: Refugee services providers are always looking for resources for refugees such as safe, affordable rental housing and family supporting jobs. If you know of any available housing or employment in your area, reach out to your local refugee resettlement agency to help them connect with a new and valuable resource.