Catholic Charities is working to resettle 332 Afghans in Middle Tennessee.
We worked closely with the U.S. State Department for months to get ready and we are now actively finding and furnishing homes for arrivals. The resettlement process will continue for months to come. Each person who comes to the United States to begin a new life has been carefully vetted by the State Department and Homeland Security.
What Arriving Families Need
We know from decades of experience working with refugees that it takes about six months for them to become self-reliant.
Many of those coming to Middle Tennessee left Afghanistan with only what they could carry.
Here are the big ways that Catholic Charities is helping them prepare for a new home in America.
Funding Resettlement Efforts
Catholic Charities receives federal funding to cover initial needs for each evacuee. These needs can vary significantly depending on family size, age of children, etc. And it is important that we raise funds to supplement the federal funding.
One source of funding for us is the “Welcoming Nashville Fund,” created by the United Way of Greater Nashville.
But we still need your support. Here are the ways you can give:
Resettlement Wish List on Amazon
Catholic Charities has also created a Refugee Resettlement Wish List on Amazon where you can purchase specific items that we need to furnish and set up homes. During checkout, you will be asked to choose a shipping address. Under “other addresses,” select “Refugee & Immigration Services’ Gift Registry Address”
The following wish list items are most needed:
- Car seats
- Full and twin blankets
- Sheet sets
- Sets of pots and pans
- Dishwasher detergent
- Shampoo and conditioner
- Trash bags
- Bathroom trash cans
- bathroom and kitchen cleaner
- Shower curtains, liners, and hooks
- Dining room tables and chairs
- New rugs – Catholic Charities cannot accept used rugs but many clients are in need of rugs for their apartments
Refugee Youth Program School Supply List on Amazon
Catholic Charities has created a second Amazon Wish list where you can donate school supplies for Afghan children who are just beginning school in the United States. During checkout, you will be asked to choose a shipping address. Under “other addresses,” select “Abdikadir Ali’s Gift Registry Address”
Catholic Charities may eventually be able to accept in-kind donations and other items, as staffing and storage space allows. Once that option becomes available we will post more information about the types of items we can accept on our website and social media.
Resettlement Is Part Of Our Mission
Helping New Americans acclimate to their new lives in the United States has been an important ministry since our founding in 1962, and immigrations services has a long heritage associated with Catholic Charities agencies across the country.
In some states, a nonprofit functions on behalf of the state to administer the resettlement program. That is true for Tennessee, and Catholic Charities’ Tennessee Office for Refugees (TOR) does just that. It is a department of Catholic Charities designated and funded by the federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to administer the state refugee resettlement program. For detailed, up-to-date information about the evacuees, the process of being vetted, temporary holding sites, and national programs for assigning evacuees to U.S. communities, please visit the Afghanistan Crisis Response page on the TOR website.
Catholic Charities is actively recruiting volunteers for a number of roles. There are opportunities for anyone to get involved who is interested in getting involved.
Afghan Family Mentor – Highest Priority Need
Catholic Charities has dozens of Afghan Family Mentor positions open as we work to pair every Afghan family/household with a dedicated volunteer. Becoming an Afghan Family Mentor is a wonderful way to help orient a new Afghan family to Nashville through a wide variety of means such as showing the family around town, helping them learn English (through informal practice), providing support in their home, offering help with basic banking and/or budgeting functions, grocery shopping, you name it. Being a mentor is really flexible and rewarding!
Make sure to click the“Respond” button on the Refugee Family Mentor opportunity. The website will ask you to login if you already have an account or create an account if you do not have one.
Afghan Family Mentor must go through a screening process prior to being matched with a family.
Learn more about core services provided to Afghan families and the involvement of Family Mentors by downloading the PDF below.
Refugee School Readiness Volunteer x 2
We are looking for two volunteers that can help refugees navigate the school system. This position has a minimum 1-3 month commitment for 5+ hours per week. Volunteers will help with the following responsibilities:
- Scheduling and providing transportation to school enrollments
- Assisting with the implementation of and transportation for school readiness classes for both students and parents
- Transporting parents to school visits
- Planning and implementing parent engagement activities
Refugee Youth Program Volunteer x 4
We are seeking four volunteers who can assist with transportation and program implementation for the Refugee Youth Program, a therapeutic afterschool program for refugee, asylee, and migrant children that have experienced complex trauma. If assisting with transportation, volunteers would need to be able to commit to at least 5 hours per week, from 2:30pm-7:30 pm. If assisting with programming only, volunteers would need to be able to commit at least 2 hours per week, from 4:30pm-6:30pm.
Refugee Case Assistance – Office
We are looking for two volunteers to help our staff with general office work, such as filling out, filing, and submitting paperwork for temporary assistance on behalf of our clients.
Refugee Case Assistance – Transportation
Flexible hours, our staff will reach out to have you help transport clients to or from appointments.
Refugee Cultural Orientations x 4
We are looking for four volunteers help to transport our clients to our offices and assist with cultural orientations as needed.
Refugee Elders Program Volunteer
The Refugee Elders program serves 40-45 elders in the areas of English language acquisition, citizenship education, physical and mental well-being, social engagement, and case management. Currently, the program is operating virtually and on an individual basis. In the next few months, the program plans to return to some in-person activities as safely as possible. Volunteers are needed to assist program staff with transport needs and program implementation. Additionally, the program is seeking volunteers to assist with English language and citizenship classes. This opportunity is in the morning weekly or bi-weekly (TBA) between 8:00am and 12:00pm.
Keep up to date with the latest news and information from Catholic Charities about our resettlement work.
Afghan family shares resettlement experience, working with Catholic Charities – Tennessee Register
Case managers help arrivals from Afghanistan prosper in new home – Tennessee Register
Middle Tennessee groups prepare for Afghan refugee arrivals – Tennessee Lookout
Nashville groups ask for help as Afghan refugees arrive – WPLN
Nashville’s Catholic Charities says helping to resettle Afghans fits its mission – The Dialog
Resettlement Job Openings
Catholic Charities is looking for people passionate about helping New Americans acclimates to their new lives in the United States. The following is a list of open positions:
- Administrative Assistant, Tennessee Office of Refugees - View job details
- Refugee Case Assistance Specialist - View job details