Volunteers needed to help Afghan evacuees staying at Fort Bliss

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EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) – El Pasoans once again have the opportunity to help their new neighbors, as volunteers are needed to help Afghan evacuees currently at Fort Bliss.

The Diocesan Migrant and Refugee Services (DMRS) says there is a lot happening in El Paso, from the children’s shelter at Fort Bliss, the Afghan evacuees arriving and migrants from Del Rio coming to El Paso; all the arrivals are making it difficult to find enough volunteers.

“Most of them probably don’t even know where they’re landing you know they have no sense of where Ft. Bliss Texas is so there is a lot of confusion, there is a lot of uncertainty,” said Melissa M. Lopez the Executive Director of DMRS.

Lopez says volunteers will be trained to help evacuees understand their options and what to do once they depart El Paso.

“We want to make sure the Afghan evacuees understand what options they might have legally and to have some next steps and the importance of hiring an attorney once they reach their final destination,” said Lopez.

Lopez adds that every evacuee’s situation is different, complex and challenging, since volunteers don’t speak the language and have to rely on interpreters.

“There’s a combination of Afghan evacuees there were Afghan nationals and citizens and then you have people who were already halfway through their immigration process and then others who haven’t even started it,” Lopez said.

“At the end of the day, you have people who have been through something very traumatic who have been through a very difficult situation so then you also have that feeling of to get to a point of stability,”

DMRS says background checks will be done for those wanting to volunteer and that you need to be at least 18 years old.

“We will be vetting individuals to make sure they have the right intentions the right desires so we will do vetting. But in terms of who were looking for really, we just want people who are committed and can help us serve the thousands of Afghan evacuees that are at fort bliss right now,” said Lopez.

If you are interested in becoming a volunteer, email Catherine Hudak at chudak@dmrs-ep.org or call 915-532-1042.

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