American Legion posts coordinate humanitarian efforts for Afghan refugees arriving in NJ

As more refugees from Afghanistan arrive in New Jersey, there are grassroot efforts to help the families who will be starting over.

News 12 Staff

Aug 28, 2021, 3:07 AM

Updated 959 days ago

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As more refugees from Afghanistan arrive in New Jersey, there are grassroot efforts to help the families who will be starting over.
The military base in Wrightstown is one of many around the United States that are accepting families -- Afghans who left their homeland with virtually nothing.
About 30 miles from the base, the American Legion Post 372 in Cherry Hill is trying to gather up some of the most basic of needs to donate. There is a table-top packed with water bottles, toothbrushes, diapers -- all donations coming in from people around the Cherry Hill region.
"It's nice to help people out as long as they're good people, we can help," said Joe Merimonde, who is a Vietnam War veteran. He, along with the American Legion Post 68 in Merchantville, are collecting the goods for the refugees.
"Some of the stuff is staying at the Joint base for the refuges that are going to be there and a lot of it goes to Afghanistan for our troops," Merimonde explained.
The items will help potentially thousands of Afghan refugees.
Due to security reasons, News 12 New Jersey was not given exact numbers of those who have flown to New Jersey. However, Gen. Glen VanHerck provided some information about the total effort.
"So today, our total capacity at these four installations is approximately 21,000 and growing. We're steadily working to increase capacity to the 50,000th number by Sept. 15," VanHerck said.
In Afghanistan one day after the airport bombing, evacuations about C-130's continued.
Since Aug. 13, 105,000 people have flown out.
The crowds of people outside the airport in Kabul have dissipated on reports of possibly more violence.
"We still believe there are credible threats. In fact, I 'd say specific credible threats and we want to make sure we're prepared for those," said Pentagon Press Secretary John Kirby.
The State Department reports there are still 500 Americans to be returned home who are all trying to get out by the Aug. 31 deadline for removal of U.S. troops.
The Afghan refugees who are landing in Wrightstown will be screened for medical issues. They will then meet with the International Migration Organization to work with them on their relocation.
Meantime over in Cherry Hill, the American Legion Post is still accepting donations.


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