SPOKANE, Wash. - World Relief Spokane is currently home to less than a dozen refugees from Afghanistan. However, in the coming months, they expect an influx of at least 300 more.
Director of Development Kevin Benson told KHQ World Relief was promised federal funding, but that it hasn't arrived. He said they've been relying mainly on donations from the community.
"The need is far greater than the resources right now," Benson said.
Outside of financial difficulties, Benson said the agency also wrestles with the phycological impacts refugees experience when uprooting their lives in such a short time.
"Quite literally, people may have been running for their lives before they were able to get to a place of safety and were able to get here," Benson said.
He said they try to give each refugee the emotional support they need, but its been difficult to understand the challenges they've faced on a meaningful level.
"No one has chosen to be a refugee, no one wants to do this," Benson said.
World Relief Spokane is leaning on the community for extra help while they wait for government funds. Benson said the response he's seen so far has been incredible.
He said their phones have been ringing off the hook and their inboxes are flooded with people wanting to help out.
"Spokane has showed up, and its really humbling and exciting to see that," Benson said.
So, what's the best way for the average Spokanite to lend a hand? Benson said they have blueprints for welcome kits and back-to-school kits on their websites that can be donated to help refugees get on their feet. Those can be found here.