Changes are happening within the Columbia Pike-based nonprofit La Cocina VA.
Over time, it widened its focus to help immigrants, refugees and unhoused people from all backgrounds. Founder Paty Funegra tells ARLnow the nonprofit was renamed Kitchen of Purpose last month to recognize that shift formally. She also gave a heads-up of some other changes slated for the new year.
Kitchen of Purpose will be putting an $80,000 grant from longtime supporter Bank of America to use to address food insecurity and support workforce development. Meanwhile, the nonprofit will be updating the menu and adding outdoor seating to the café it operates out of its facility at 918 S. Lincoln Street in a bid to attract new customers. Kitchen of Purpose moved into the facility in 2020.
Funegra says the name change was a years-long process that wrapped up last month.
“It didn’t take too long until we had applicants to our program from other ethnicities, immigrants from other places, Americans who speak good English who were interested in food service as career opportunities,” she said.
While La Cocina VA began offering classes in English by 2018, “we were always labeled as ‘La Cocina only serves the Hispanic community,'” Funegra said.
She says many of Asian, Middle Eastern and Eastern European descent — mostly women — have applied to Kitchen of Purpose’s small business incubator program.
“They already utilize food as not only a way of gathering families, but creating something,” she said.
Bank of America’s $80,000 grant will increase the number of meals Kitchen of Purpose can provide to people in affordable housing and homeless shelters, to senior residents and public schools children during the summer. A portion will support the nonprofit’s workforce development program that helps unemployed people get jobs and training in food service and hospitality.
“It definitely is a large contribution,” she said. “We project this is around 10,000 meals that we can provide our clients, using part of this grant.”
Starting in February, customers can order from the new food menu, with international flavors, Sunday brunch, plus beer, wine and cocktails. The interior will be redesigned and, by the spring, there should be outdoor seating.
“We want to bring more attention to the café,” Funegra said. “Like any other establishment, we’re surviving the pandemic… Some people know about us, but we want to come out with a new look, new name and new personnel to bring clients and raise awareness about us.”
It’s a far cry from where she started: a 167-square-foot kitchen in a church basement. To help small business owners make similar kinds of moves, she says in the near future she wants to provide microloans. That way, they can start building credit and eventually qualify for bigger loans.
“They have the talent, knowledge and passion, but because of their condition, they face barriers to obtain a small seed capital loan,” she said. “We’re exploring opportunities to create a fund that would allow us to inject capital — $5,000 to $10,000 loans — to these entrepreneurs so they can start generating business.”
(Updated, 4:10 p.m.) It hasn’t been a perfect ten months, but Mir is happy to be alive.
It was nearly a year ago when he, his wife, and his young son were forced to leave their native Afghanistan due to the Taliban’s occupation and made their way to Northern Virginia.
As he told ARLnow back in January, Mir believed that if he had stayed in Afghanistan he would have been killed. We are withholding his last name at his request because of safety and privacy.
Once here, though, the members of Arlington Neighbors Welcoming Afghans (ANWA) Facebook group helped turn his new barren Alexandria apartment into a home.
ANWA was a grassroots effort started late last year by military veteran Ryan Elizabeth Alvis to assist newly arriving Afghan families adjust to Arlington and Alexandria.
Since October 2021, ANWA has assisted more than 100 families and raised over $30,000 to buy household items, and groceries, Alvis tells ARLnow. In that time, about 85 people have become “team leads,” as in they are directly in charge of helping the families.
The Facebook group now has more than 1,800 active members, many regularly chipping in to buy such things from school supplies to kitchen pressure cookers.
In the seven months since we last talked, Mir says he and his family are adjusting. It hasn’t been easy, but he’s forever grateful to the group, Alvis, and his “team leads” — Karen Penn and Christy McIntyre.
“I’m creating a good career in this country,” he says. “I’m very happy I’m here and that I’m safe.”
Probably the most difficult aspect has been job hunting, largely due to the fact that the degrees and certifications he earned in the information technology industry in Afghanistan do not apply here.
Mir has worked, though, first at the Alexandria City Schools as a substitute teacher and, now, as an assistant general manager at a hotel in Chantilly.
Penn, who still works with Mir plus several other families, says this is the case for many other Afghan refugees. Looking for a job in their trained industry is the biggest challenge since the schooling and training they did back home often isn’t accepted by employers in the United States.
Planning for Fmr. Inner Ear Site — “Arlington Cultural Affairs is working with public art and placemaking firm Graham Projects to design a future arts space at 2700 S. Nelson Street/2701 S. Oakland Street in Green Valley, and we are looking for your inspiration and input. A flexible, outdoor open space is planned for the site, which will be designed following the planned demolition of the existing building this fall. In the meantime, we want YOUR thoughts and ideas!” [Arlington County]
Big Money for Growing Local Company — “Arlington’s Federated Wireless Inc. has raised an additional $14 million in a second closing of its latest round of funding — bringing the raise’s total to $72 million — as it looks to augment the private wireless market.” [Washington Business Journal]
Refugee Wins Reprieve in Court — “In a brief ruling from the bench that surprised both sides with its speed, Circuit Court Judge William T. Newman Jr. in December declared Khoy’s plea vacated. Khoy reached for her lawyer’s arm in disbelief. Was the nightmare really over?” [Washington Post]
Events to Mark Civic Association Anniversary — “The John M. Langston Citizens Association will celebrate the 85th Anniversary of the organization with a series of events during the weekend of May 13th through 15th. The Opening Program on Friday, May 13th at the Langston-Brown Community Center will feature recognition of the 28 plaintiffs from the Thompson v. Arlington School Board 1958 court case who were denied entrance to white schools, when the Stratford Four… were admitted on February 2, 1959.” [HallsHill.com]
SoberRide for Cinco de Mayo — “Offered by the nonprofit Washington Regional Alcohol Program (WRAP), the 2022 Cinco de Mayo SoberRide® program will be in operation beginning at 4:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 5th (Cinco de Mayo) and operate until 4:00 a.m. on Friday, May 6th as a way to keep local roads safe from impaired drivers during this traditionally high-risk period.” [WRAP]
Circulator Strike Planned — “Fed up with a lack of progress in contract talks and unfair labor practices, the bus drivers for the DC Circulator, employed by RATP Dev, will be on strike tomorrow morning, Tuesday, May 3rd and will stay out until an agreement is reached.” [ATU Local 689]
It’s Tuesday — Partly sunny during the day, then a chance of showers and thunderstorms, mainly after 8 p.m. High of 75 and low of 56. Sunrise at 6:09 am and sunset at 8:04 pm. [Weather.gov]
Flickr pool photo by Kevin Wolf
Police Oversight Board Appointed — “The Arlington County Board is excited to announce the newly appointed members of the Community Oversight Board (COB)… The Oversight Board will consist of seven voting members who are residents of the County and reflect our demographic diversity along with two non-voting members with prior law enforcement experience.” [Arlington County]
Local Chef Feeding Ukraine Refugees — Bayou Bakery owner and chef David Guas is on “the frontlines in Przemyśl, Poland with [José Andrés’ World Central Kitchen], to give a helping hand to the emergency food relief for #UkraineRefugees crossing the border. Guas will be preparing and providing meals to help nourish those communities.” [Instagram]
Large Fight Near TJ Middle School — “3500 block of 2nd Street S. At approximately 3:47 p.m. on March 21, police were dispatched to the report of a large disorderly group of juveniles who appeared to be preparing to fight. Upon arrival, officers were approached by two juvenile victims who stated that they were physically assaulted by two juvenile subjects. Officers located the subjects in the area, detained them and determined one had sustained minor injuries consistent with being struck with BB gun pellets.” [ACPD]
Convoy Rumbles Through Arlington Again — From public safety watcher Dave Statter yesterday: “#TruckersConvoy2022 has made its presence known on I-395N, noisily crossing the 14th St. Bridge. @DCPoliceDept has the usual ramps blocked & #traffic is slowing.” [Twitter]
It’s Wednesday — A cloudy morning, then rain starting in the afternoon. Gusty winds and storms possible later tonight. High of 61 and low of 45. Sunrise at 7:08 am and sunset at 7:24 pm. [Weather.gov]
Another Malfunctioning Walk Signal — Just over a week after this, another reported crosswalk signal issue: “Instead of telling you when it’s safe to cross the street, the walk signs in Crystal City, VA are just repeating ‘CHANGE PASSWORD’. Something’s gone terribly wrong here.” [Twitter]
School Board Meeting Was Mostly Maskless — “For those playing the ‘how many Arlington School Board members will go mask-free at the first board meeting after requirements were lifted?’ home game, the winners were those who had put their money on four out of five. Board members David Priddy, Cristina Diaz-Torres, Reid Goldstein and chairman Barbara Kanninen were maskless at the March 10 meeting, as was Superintendent Francisco Durán. School Board member Mary Kadera kept her mask affixed.” [Sun Gazette]
Survey Work on GW Parkway — ” A $161 million ‘complete rehabilitation‘ of the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway is being planned… Through Friday, March 18, there will be single-lane closures along the northern section of the George Washington Memorial Parkway for bridge surveys. Drivers should proceed with caution in these areas and consider using alternate routes, according to an NPS alert.” [WUSA 9]
Arlington Doc Helping Refugees — “An Arlington doctor is not only battling the pandemic in Northern Virginia, but he also travels across international borders to help those in need. The current refugee crisis that began with Afghans in 2021, now includes Ukrainians facing a similar fate of displacement and an uncertain future. For three years before COVID-19 spread across the globe, Dr. Ali Karim helped build wells in Nigeria, aided orphans and women in Kabul, Afghanistan and filmed a documentary about his solo journey.” [WJLA]
Days Inn Redevelopment Update — “The plans to replace the Days Inn at 2201 Arlington Boulevard with 262 multi-family units and around 3,000 square feet of retail were filed with Arlington County last week. The eight-story project will also have surface and underground parking. STUDIOS Architecture designed the building.” [Urban Turf]
Social Sports Return to Crystal City — “Sand Volleyball is BACK in National Landing starting this May with a few fun new additions – Bocce and Corn Hole!” [Twitter]
Yes, It’s Getting Windier — “Our analysis of wind data shows that the strongest gusts have become more frequent recently. Last year featured more big wind gusts than any recent year, a trend that has continued into this year. Wind advisories, issued by the National Weather Service when gusts are expected to top 45 mph, have also been on the increase since the mid-2000s.” [Capital Weather Gang]
It’s Tuesday — Mostly cloudy throughout the day. High of 66 and low of 40. Sunrise at 7:21 am and sunset at 7:17 pm. [Weather.gov]
When the Taliban took over his native Afghanistan in August, Mir knew that he and his family needed to get out.
He was confident they would be a target because he was a contractor assisting the United Kingdom, United States, and NATO with communications and information technology.
“If I stayed in the country, the [Taliban] probably would have killed me,” he tells ARLnow (we are withholding his last name for privacy reasons).
After obtaining a visa, the family embarked on a harrowing journey that took them from the place they called home their entire lives to Northern Virginia. It was the first time that Mir had ever left Afghanistan.
While Mir, his wife, and his nine-month-old baby are now safe in America, they arrived here with nothing.
“I didn’t even have one dollar to buy a diaper for my son,” Mir says, speaking via Zoom from his Alexandria apartment.
That’s when Arlington Neighbors Welcoming Afghans (ANWA) got involved, a Facebook group created by military veteran Ryan Elizabeth Alvis to help Afghans resettle in the area.
“When Afghan families arrive, they [come] with nothing but the clothes on their back,” says Alvis, who lives in the Bluemont neighborhood. “We want to welcome these families in the way they deserve to our community. And that takes the involvement of the average citizen.”
This was all a grassroots effort. After seeing the images on television and knowing from her own experience serving in Afghanistan as a Marine in the early 2010s, Alvis knew she needed to help.
She reached out to other nonprofit groups that were organizing efforts. While waiting for a response back, Alvis created the Facebook group. Soon after, she got a tip about a newly arrived family in Reston who was looking for help and supplies. So, she organized an effort through the group to get the family what they needed.
Quickly, word spread.
“I got a phone call from another Afghan family who had been given my phone number,” she says. “And that’s how it grew… with cold calls.”
Since starting in October, about 500 ANWA members have helped 58 families resettle in Northern Virginia in ways big and small, everything from providing furniture to contributing money for food to navigating how to set up Wi-Fi.
In all, more than 4,000 Afghan refugees have resettled in Virginia over the last year, according to InsideNoVa.
When a new request comes in from a family, Alvis assigns “team leads” to help that family. In turn, those team leads post in the group asking for specific things the family needs. Alvis anticipates the group continuing to be active until at least April.
So far, the group has raised about $20,000 for food and household items and is raising more through GoFundMe.
It’s not simply dollars, though, that Arlington community members are contributing. It’s their time and effort.
Volunteers Karen Penn and Christy McIntyre are Mir and his family’s “team leads.” They make requests on the family’s behalf in the Facebook group for household items, organize drop-offs, and generally assist with anything that’s needed.
That includes helping to navigate the Metrobus system, which was understandably daunting for Mir.
Both Penn and McIntyre note how rewarding, humbling, and inspiring it is to spend time with the recent American arrivals.
“[Mir and his family] are really starting over. It’s just amazing how resilient they are,” says Penn, who lives in the Leeway-Overlee neighborhood.
McIntyre, who lives in Arlington Forest, says the experience has been eye-opening, realizing that something that may seem tiny can make a huge difference for someone.
“If everybody does something small, if a lot of people come together, we can do amazing things,” she says. “The Arlington community stepped up big, really big. And they continue to do so for other families. I’m just so proud of our community.”
It’s the End of Summers — The former Summers restaurant in Courthouse was torn down yesterday, making way for a new apartment development. Video of the demolition shows water being sprayed to control dust as the building was razed. [Twitter]
Staffing Concerns At 911 Dispatch Center — “The head of Arlington, Virginia’s Emergency Communications Center is addressing concerns that its current setup is problematic and even potentially dangerous. ‘We are like every other 911 center in the country, which has traditionally struggled with staffing,’ center administrator Dave Mulholland told WTOP. ‘We’re going to be very honest in acknowledging not every shift has optimal staffing.’ However, Mulholland maintains that crucial positions have always remained filled, and that more people are being trained to fill needed roles.” [WTOP]
Lebanese Taverna Helping to Feed Refugees — “When word came that thousands of Afghan refugees would be landing at Dulles in late August after their country fell to the Taliban, World Central Kitchen mobilized to make sure those reaching the U.S. after a harrowing journey would be greeted with a hot meal. The nonprofit’s first call was to Grace Abi-Najm Shea, one of five siblings behind Lebanese Taverna… Of the 61,298 meals WCK served there between Aug. 25 and Sept. 10, 5,037 came from Lebanese Taverna.” [Washington City Paper]
County Board May Modify Hotel Tax — “Arlington County is weighing whether to tax hotel guests for the total cost of their stay, including fees and other charges, and not just the cost of the room. The potential change to the transient occupancy tax — the revenue from which has collapsed amid the pandemic, affecting Arlington’s incentive arrangement with Amazon.com Inc. — follows changes to the tax definition in the state code adopted by the Virginia General Assembly.” [Washington Business Journal]
Much of Crystal City Is Now Carbon Neutral — “JBG SMITH, a leading owner and developer of high-quality, mixed-use properties in the Washington, DC market, today announced it has achieved carbon neutrality across its entire 16.1 million square foot operating portfolio. Building on this accomplishment, JBG SMITH intends for its properties to maintain carbon neutral operations annually.” [BusinessWire]
Tucker Rants About Beyer — Fox News opinion host Tucker Carlson called Rep. Don Beyer “a fashionably radical car dealer from Arlington” on his show earlier this week, in a segment about vaccine mandates. But Beyer’s communications director says that the local congressman, who is actually an Alexandria resident, “does not own any auto dealerships and has not for years.” [Twitter]
Harris Teeter Stores Cutting Hours — “Harris Teeter stores nationwide will be reducing their store hours until further notice, citing the shortage of labor caused by the COVID-19 pandemic… Starting Wednesday, Sept. 15, all Harris Teeters will be open from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m. Stores in Northern Virginia have previously been open 24 hours, or until 11 p.m.” [InsideNova]
Northam Declares State of Emergency — “Governor Ralph Northam today declared a state of emergency to respond to impacts from Tropical Depression Ida, which is expected to cause heavy rains and flooding along the I-81 and I-66 corridors. Localities in the southwest region have already experienced heavy rainfall in recent days, leading to flash floods and complicating storm preparation efforts. In addition to the flood threat, there is also a risk of tornadoes across the Commonwealth.” [Gov. Ralph Northam]
Jail to Distribute Fentanyl Tests — “Beginning September 1, 2021, Arlington County will begin to distribute fentanyl test strips to individuals being released from incarceration. This new effort is in response to rising overdose numbers.” [Arlington County]
Pike Apartment Building Sold — “Zurich Alternative Asset Management has sold Siena Park, a 188-unit multifamily community in Arlington, Va., for $80.1 million. The property includes 33,602 square feet of retail and 17,373 square feet of office space. Located at 2301 Columbia Pike, Siena Park is just 15 minutes from Washington, D.C.” [Commercial Observer]
Marymount Testing VR Headsets — “Eric Bubar, a Marymount associate professor of physics, has led 3D printing projects and testing for face masks and other polymer-based personal protective equipment. But more recently, the professor… is working with three other science faculty members to develop virtual reality technology for Marymount chemistry students to take lab classes remotely — and, perhaps in the future, for physical therapy patients.” [Washington Business Journal]
Local Catholic Org Seeking Help with Refugees — “Following the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan, diocesan Catholic Charities has issued a plea for resources to support Afghan refugees resettling in Virginia as the Taliban’s rapid resurgence prompted Afghan translators and others who assisted U.S. military forces to flee the country along with their families… Catholic Charities has prioritized finding properties for rent in Fredericksburg, Sterling and Woodbridge, as the agency hopes to place the Afghans near family and friends in the area.” [Arlington Catholic Herald]
It’s National Preparedness Month — “It’s a situation everyone has experienced: The media and public safety agencies warn of an impending storm, chance of power outages, and loss of service. But you find yourself scrambling at the last minute for batteries, water, and ideas to keep your family entertained. Disasters don’t plan ahead — even during a pandemic — but you can.” [Arlington County]
Lebanese Taverna Helping to Feed Refugees — From World Central Kitchen: “Today’s scene at Dulles Airport outside DC To support families landing from Afghanistan, the WCK team is here to provide fresh, hot meals upon arrival. People have not eaten in hours — or days — by the time they land. Today’s plates came from @lebanesetaverna.” [Twitter]
Air Quality Alert Today — “The Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments… has issued a Code ORANGE Air Quality Alert Thursday for the DC metro area. A Code Orange Air Quality Alert means that air pollution concentrations within the region may become unhealthy for sensitive groups. Sensitive groups include children, people suffering from asthma, heart disease or other lung diseases and the elderly.” [National Weather Service]
Missing Senior Found — From Virginia State Police: “Virginia Senior Alert CANCELLED: Per @ArlingtonVaPD, Mr. Charilaos Dimopoulos, 92, has been SAFELY LOCATED.” [Twitter]
Committee of 100 Stays Remote — “It will be the start of 2022 at the earliest before the Arlington Committee of 100 returns to in-person meetings. ‘Our board has decided to continue providing our programs ‘virtually’ through December,’ the organization said in a recent e-mail to participants. ‘Our hope is eventually to provide hybrid programs, where you can connect with fellow members in person or watch them from the comfort of your home.'” [Sun Gazette]
Girls Flag Football Coach Profiled — “Rivera remains here in Arlington, coaching… year-round in both flag and girls’ basketball under the banner of the Hurricanes organization, which he founded… Rivera has taken Virginia Hurricanes select flag teams to the NFL nationals — the championships for the official NFL flag football league — seven times. They’ve won the national championship three times–twice for the 14-and-under (14U) age group, and once for the 12U age group. The 10U and 12U teams qualified for the upcoming nationals in Nevada in January 2022, and the 14U team will compete to qualify in November.” [Arlington Magazine]
Reminder on a Hot Day — From AAA Mid-Atlantic: “We’re looking at another hot and humid day in VA, it’s time to focus on protecting children & pets from the heat: Never leave them in a vehicle unattended. Always look in the back seat every time you exit. Always lock the car and put keys out of reach.” [Twitter]
Kitten Rescued from Van — ” Caroline Elpers, a deputy animal control officer with Arlington County, responded to a call from a woman on Aug. 15. The woman said she was walking her dog and she’d heard the mewing of a cat coming from the inside of a van parked on the street. ‘Initially, the call stated that the cat was in the van,’ Elpers said, who arrived on the scene around 10 a.m. ‘Once I got there, it was apparent that the cat was underneath the van, running under and into the engine.'” [Patch]
Pandemic Doesn’t Stop Tax Collection — “Over the past year, staff of the Arlington treasurer’s office has been tasked with collecting $997 million in taxes due on real estate and personal property (both vehicles and business property). To date, more than $995 million of it is in hand. Treasurer Carla de la Pava on Aug. 16 confirmed to the Sun Gazette that the county’s tax-delinquency rate for the past year stood at 0.18 percent, a near-record.” [Sun Gazette]
New Faregates Coming to Local Metro Stations — “Work is also underway to replace the faregates at 13 additional stations, with new faregates being phased in as they are completed and ready for service. Eastern Market and Forest Glen are expected to be completed within the next week. That will be followed by the completion of Friendship Heights, Crystal City, Capitol South, the north entrance of Union Station, Arlington Cemetery, National Airport, and Addison Road in the coming weeks.” [WMATA]
New Pro-People Coalition Launches — “The National Landing Business Improvement District (BID) partnered with local stakeholders today to launch the ‘People Before Cars’ Coalition to unite area organizations around shared priorities to create a safer and more accessible transportation network in National Landing.” [Press Release]
N. Va. Gov’ts Welcome Afghan Refugees — “The Northern Virginia Regional Commission… issued a statement regarding regional refugee resettlement on Tuesday. ‘Citizens of Northern Virginia are following with great concern and compassion the evacuation of Afghan refugees by the brave men and women of our Armed Forces and civilian agencies,’ the statement read. ‘We welcome our new neighbors and wish them much success as they transition to a new life here in the region and across the United States.'” [Prince William Times, Twitter]
N. Va. School System Goes Virtual Only — “Rappahannock County Public Schools on Monday announced that the schools will switch to virtual learning for the remainder of the week while officials work to create a new system to mitigate spread of COVID-19 as the virus has created a flurry of cases within the schools since the academic year began… Officials said a high number of flu cases reported in the schools was also taken into account when deciding the closure.” [InsideNova]
Flickr pool photo by Tom Mockler
(Updated at 10:50 a.m.) When the U.S. started evacuating Afghan interpreters on July 30, Arlington-based Ethiopian Community Development Council — better known as ECDC — got to work helping them resettle in Northern Virginia.
The organization, founded to help Ethiopians but which has a more global reach today, is one of three agencies authorized to resettle refugees with Special Immigrant Visas in the region.
“The majority of Afghan SIVs, currently, are being placed in the cities of Denver, Silver Spring, Houston, Arlington, and San Diego,” ECDC spokeswoman Emily Gilkinson said. “In the Arlington area, we have received about five to seven SIV holders, along with their families, per week. There have been a few couples or individuals but generally, family sizes range from 4-10 people. They are staying with their U.S. ties, in hotels or Airbnbs until moving into permanent housing.”
The other authorized resettlement agencies in the area include Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Arlington and Lutheran Social Services.
“Catholic Charities resettles the most refugees in the area, followed by LSS, then by ECDC,” said Bryna Helfer, Arlington County’s assistant county manager for communications and public engagement.
Arlington’s branch of Catholic Charities has welcomed more than 2,600 SIV holders to Northern Virginia in the last six years, and resettled 326 SIV holders — most of whom are from Afghanistan — this fiscal year, said Diana Sims Snider, the deputy director of communications for the diocese.
The organization, based in Arlington with migration and refugee offices in Arlington, Manassas, Fredericksburg and Sterling, is one of about 40 Catholic Charities around the country resettling Afghan families, she said.
For the last three weeks, the military has been facilitating flights from Afghanistan’s capital, Kabul, some of which have touched down at Dulles International Airport. Nearly 2,000 Afghan interpreters and other refugees eligible for SIVs have gone to central Virginia’s Fort Lee military base, which is operating as a temporary host facility.
Catholic Charities got to work on July 30, welcoming several planeloads of evacuated Afghan SIV holders at Fort Lee, Snider said.
“Catholic Charities staff provided legal assistance for paperwork completion, translation, child activities, and other essential resources to men, women and children at Fort Lee, Virginia,” she said. “Many of these SIV-holders then traveled on to destinations elsewhere in the U.S. to settle with family already residing in this country. About 35 of those Afghan SIV-holders who came to Fort Lee in August are settling in the Diocese of Arlington.”
The situation has become more dire and unpredictable with the fall of Kabul.
“We receive notification of arrivals only a few days before, and therefore it is very difficult to predict how many we will receive,” Gilkinson said. “We are doing our best to be flexible and responsive to the requests and information whenever it comes, as we recognize the urgency of the situation.”
Video: People run on tarmac of Kabul international airport as a US military aircraft attempts to take off. pic.twitter.com/9qA36HS0WQ
— TOLOnews (@TOLOnews) August 16, 2021
not 1 of the people I know on the ground got in and made an evac flight.
what’s the point of the airport being operational if no one can get in? and there are no excuses – there are now more troops in Afghanistan than there have been in years. #EvacuateAfghans pic.twitter.com/JWaPVPQtkM
— Arash Azizzada آرش (@87films) August 19, 2021
How to help
“We greatly appreciate the interest that people from the local community have shown in supporting SIVs upon arrival,” Gilkinson said. “Successfully welcoming and integrating these individuals and other refugees escaping similar dangerous situations across the world is something our agency cannot do alone.”