NEW ALBANY, Ind. — Thousands of Afghan evacuees at Camp Atterbury near Indianapolis will soon get help from across the state as nine Indiana State Guard armories transformed into community donation centers Monday.
Like so many, Aimal Naemi's family fled Afghanistan and Taliban rule. He evacuated to Kentucky.
"My home, my car, everything I left in Afghanistan, everything,” he told WHAS11 last week.
He said most came to the United States with next to nothing, including some of his and Hamibullah Haqanzi's other family members.
He said they found refuge farther north, at Indiana's Camp Atterbury.
"They just come like this, they don't have money, or work or a car in America,” Hanqazi said.
The Indiana National Guard is stepping in to give evacuees what they need to start over.
“It's too easy to just buy a shirt, bring it in donate it,” Staff Sgt. Chris Falardo said.
Monday, at the New Albany armory, the rain drove a lot of people away. National Guard volunteers stayed all day, accepting donations of things like new clothing, baby formula, socks and shoes.
The guard is working with partners like the Department of Transportation and Department of Corrections to get all the donations to the base, where they'll help the thousands of evacuees staying there.
Volunteers like Falardo are one step in the process, a job he says comes with the territory for the National Guard.
"We're here to help people whether it’s in our backyard, or wherever it may be, whoever it may be that needs help,” he said.
For Aimal Naemi's family and so many others, clothing is a lifeline to starting their new lives outside of Afghanistan.
"I don't care about it really, because there was no life in Afghanistan,” he said.
New items in their original packaging will be accepted from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday starting Sept. 20 at the following locations:
- Evansville: 3300 E. Division St.
- Greenfield: 410 Apple St.
- Rockville: 224 W. Strawberry Road
- Danville: 1245 E. Main St.
- Muncie: 401 N. Country Club Road
- Indianapolis: Kessler-Moore Readiness Center, 2625 W. Kessler Blvd. North Drive
- Fort Wayne: 130 W. Cook Road
- South Bend: 1901 Kemble Ave.
- New Albany: 2909 Grant Line Road
The guard is asking for these items because they’re considered the “most needed” items:
- Men's and women's unbranded, modest clothes (Long sleeve t-shirts, underwear, pants and jackets in sizes small to large. No shorts or tank tops)
- Children's clothing, baby and newborn clothes, hats and socks
- Powdered baby formula
- Socks, hats, shoes and slide-on sandals (no flip flops) for all ages