Community steps up collection of school supplies for Afghan guests | Local news


Great Rivers United Way, local universities and the La Crosse School District have asked, and the community has responded.

In less than three weeks, every item on the school supply wishlist created by local English-language educators on behalf of Afghan guests living at Fort McCoy has been purchased by generous members of the community.

The “Operation Allies Welcome to School Supply Drive” wishlist included 673 items totaling just over $ 7,783. After seeing the need first-hand, educators at Viterbo, Western and UW-La Crosse realized that one way to help was to provide supplies to the classrooms at Fort McCoy.

Great Rivers United Way General Manager Mary Kay Wolf was not surprised at the response to this request.

“We are fortunate to live in such a caring community,” said Wolf. “The remarkable response to this school supplies campaign demonstrates once again that people here will do what they can to help others in need. “

Nearly 2,000 Afghans currently housed at Fort McCoy are taking courses at the base as part of the ongoing efforts to help them adjust to life in the United States. These base classrooms, created by the refugees themselves, lacked the materials necessary for effective learning.

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Wish List purchases have been shipped direct to Fort McCoy and have already started to arrive.

The Homeland Security Special Agent in charge, Vance Callender, acts as the federal coordinator of Operation Allies Welcome to Fort McCoy.

Callender noted that “the generous donations we have received have helped both children and adults” and are used for communicative language classes, which prepare students to shop for groceries, pay their bills and develop. other life skills.

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

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