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Great Rivers United Way calls Afghan School Drive ‘a big success’

The Great Rivers United Way says nearly 2,000 Afghans currently housed at Fort McCoy are...
The Great Rivers United Way says nearly 2,000 Afghans currently housed at Fort McCoy are attending classes on base as part of the ongoing effort to help them adapt to life in the United States.(WEAU)
Published: Dec. 29, 2021 at 1:46 PM CST
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LA CROSSE, Wis. (WEAU) - Great Rivers United Way, local universities, and the School District of La Crosse asked for wish list donations for Afghan refugees, and the La Crosse community answered.

The effort, called Operation Allies Welcome School Supply Drive, was launched to support the classrooms at Fort McCoy for nearly 2,000 refugees that are attending classes at the base as part of the effort to help them adapt to life in the United States.

According to a release from the Great Rivers United Way, in less than three weeks, each item on the school supply wish list, created by local English Language Learning educators on behalf of the Afghan guests living at Fort McCoy, was purchased by community members.

The wish list featured 673 items, totaling over $7,783.

The Great Rivers United Way says these classrooms on base, established by the refugees themselves, lacked the supplies necessary for effective learning.

The wish list purchases were shipped directly to Fort McCoy and have already begun to arrive.

Homeland Security Special Agent in Charge, Vance Callender, is also acting as Federal Coordinating Officer for Operation Allies Welcome at Fort McCoy.

“The generous donations we have received have helped both children and adults,” Callender said.

Callender says the supplies are being used for communicative language classes, which prepare students to buy groceries, pay bills, and build other life skills.

Great Rivers United Way and its educational partners say they will continue to assess the needs of the Afghan families living and learning at Fort McCoy and will keep community members informed regarding ways they can help.

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