PRINCE GEORGE COUNTY, Va., -- For the last three weeks, Imam Ammar Amonette and the Islamic Center of Virginia have helped hundreds of Afghan refugees who landed in Central Virginia.
The United States evacuated individuals and families with children to Fort Lee in Prince George County as the Taliban was expected to take control of their home country.
“As a week ago, there were more than 300 people there and a new plane is arriving every day,” said Imam Amonette. “You’re going to a place where you don’t know what to expect and you don’t know what the future of the people is you left behind.”
Since their arrival, the Islamic Center of Virginia has provided humanitarian assistance to those who managed to evacuate Afghanistan prior to the chaos over the weekend.
Images of the disarray in the country’s capital of Kabul quickly spread back to Central Virginia. Thousands flooded the airport desperate for a way out.
“To watch the Taliban take over is a heartbreaking turn of events to people who devoted so much to the country,” said Rep. Abigail Spanberger.
The former CIA officer and her congressional office continued to help both Americans and Afghans escape the country.
“Either because they are a constituent, or loved ones of constituents, or in the cases of veterans who are advocating on behalf of their former translators trying to get them into the SIV program,” Spanberger explained.
SIV stands for “Special Immigrant Visa” which has recently been set aside for the Afghans who helped the U.S. military over the last two decades of combat.
“It’s our priority to ensure the safety and security of Americans and our allies,” Spanberger stated.
Now, Imam Amonette is asking for the public's help with donations and supplies for the families who managed to escape the only country they’ve ever known.
The Islamic Center of Virginia is accepting hygiene products, diapers, game snack toys for children, and travel kits for both men and women. They encouraged you to donate money through their website because of space limitations. The extra funds also allow them to buy the necessary items in bulk.
The Islamic Center of Virginia is located at 1241 Buford Road in North Chesterfield.
Imam Amonette said this is a crisis we all should paying attention to even though it’s happening more than 7,000 miles away.
“As we’ve learned, we are all undergoing a pandemic right now. What affects the least human beings affects all of us. When people aren’t healthy and safe, we aren’t exactly healthy and safe either,” he said.
You can also drop off supplies Woody and Nelsen funeral homes in the greater Richmond Region.
Supplies they're collecting include personal hygiene products, travels kits for both men and women, snacks (manufacturer wrapped) and games, toys, puzzles and coloring books for children.
Woody Funeral Homes are located at:
- 1771 North Parham Road in Henrico County
- 1020 Huguenot Road in Midlothian
- 9271 Shady Grove Road in Mechanicsville
Nelsen Funeral Homes are located at 4650 South Laburnum Avenue in Richmond and 412 South Washington Hwy in Ashland.