Salt Lake City, Utah — To welcome refugee families from Afghanistan to the Salt Lake area, the Utah Muslim Civic League hosted an event Sunday where refugees were provided clothing, supplies, food, and connections to vital services.
“There is a lot of trauma,” said Luna Banuri, the executive director of the Utah Muslim Civic League. “We want to make sure they are fed, they are well clothed, warm and they have enough space to recover, rest and get on with the settlement agencies for their intake so that they are put through a process of full integration.”
The Utah Muslim Civic League is one of many organizations helping Utah’s newest citizens.
“We want to make sure they are connected to services holistically,” Banuri said.
About 30 volunteers were at Sunday’s event.
“The refugees were actually helping the U.S. with a lot of things and now they are counting on us to help them,” said Shariq Khan, a volunteer, and member of the Utah Muslim Civic League. “This is just the beginning for all these people coming in.”
The organization is accepting donations that will assist families upon their arrival to Utah.
According to Banuri, there is an urgent need for housing.
“If you would like to offer your home for incoming arrivals that would be helpful because a lot are based in hotels,” she said.
The Utah Muslim Civic League is also requesting help from legal professionals to assist in the process of filing for humanitarian parole.
According to Banuri, the process of helping refugee families make a smooth transition to their new lives in Utah will be long – and one that will require help from the community to be successful.
“This is a marathon. This is not a sprint,” Banuri said. “There are so many places where help will be needed. I would request all the volunteers and folks in Utah to pace themselves and commit in different phases to provide help.”