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Utahns prepare to receive Afghan refugees

Posted at 10:20 PM, Aug 25, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-26 00:20:06-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is preparing to receive hundreds of refugees escaping the tyranny of the Taliban regime.

Governor Spencer Cox indicated the state still does not know exactly how many or when the refugees will arrive, but he said the state wants to be prepared.

In a statement, Cox said in part, “When tragedy occurs somewhere on the other side of the world, Utahns are always quick to show concern and willingness to help out. My office has received countless calls and emails from individuals, families, businesses and organizations offering to do something to support the efforts to bring Afghan refugees to Utah. We still do not know how many and how soon Utah may start receiving Afghan refugees, but we want to be prepared for when they do start arriving."

One group getting ready is Catholic Community Services.

“It is really very devastating to see people are in a dire situation,” said Aden Batar, the refugee services director at Catholic Community Services Utah. “The Afghanis who have been evacuated are going through alot.”

CCS is mobilizing housing, clothing, language classes and other resources for the incoming refugees.

It is something that is impossible to do alone.

“There are alot of things we don't have resources for, so funding will be really helpful,” Batar said.

He added, the best way for people to help is with financial donations through the Catholic Community Services website.

“The Afghan refugees that are coming to Utah, these individuals put their lives at risk by helping our forces in Afghanistan,” Batar said. “I think this is a small thing. We can show them appreciation for what they have done for our country and troops.”

One small business is pledging to pitch in.

Salsa Queen in West Valley City says it will donate one dollar of every salsa container sold and five dollars for every online order completed through September to help those stranded in Afghanistan.

“We want to give hope to people back there,” the owner of Salsa Queen said.

Salsa Queen hopes other small businesses join this movement to help both Americans escaping Afghanistan and allies who have supported efforts to protect freedom.

“We don’t want anybody to be left behind,” Salsa Queen said.