Lansing prepares to welcome Afghan refugees

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LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – In just a few weeks, the first Afghan refugees could start arriving in the capital city.

“Everybody knows refugees and knows how wonderful they can be.”

Judi Harris is with St. Vincent Catholic Charities. She says the numbers may change, but upwards of 200 Afghans are expected to call Lansing home.

“It just kind of depends. Most of the people coming will have family members here who will be applying for them. So it just depends on how many people here are applying for people to come,” she said.

Today, a donation drive kicked off to help make their transition a little easier. Many items have already been donated but volunteers say they still need furniture like love seats and sofas.

For Harris, it’s also personal because she’s the mom of refugee children from Afghanistan. “Some of my kids have families in these big cities Mazar-I-Sharif and Kabul, they were very shaken up asking ‘me mom what can I do?'”

Today, there was chaos at the Kabul airport.

Dozens killed, including 12 Americans. The desperation to leave the country continues to grow.

Harris says for now it’s all about keeping people safe.

“This is why we do refugee resettlement. This isn’t about giving people jobs or anything like that. It’s about saving lives. Most of our clients from everywhere they come from in the world were really endangered before they came here.”

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