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Friday, September 3, 2021

Donation Drop-Offs Paused Citing 'Overwhelming' Support for Afghan Refugees in St. Louis

Posted By on Fri, Sep 3, 2021 at 1:59 PM

Say what you will about St. Louis, but there’s nothing quite like how the community comes together in times of need. In just the few short weeks since the announcement St. Louis could be getting up to 1,000 Afghan refugees, the International Institute of St. Louis (3401 Arsenal Street, 314-773-9090) has been flooded with donations from residents.

So many donations have come in that the organization has asked people to hold off on donation drop-offs until September 9.

“Thank you for your outpouring of volunteer interest, financial contributions and in-kind donations you have dropped off over the past two weeks,” the institute wrote in an update on their website. “We are overwhelmed by your generosity and willingness to welcome our new neighbors.”

The institute paused the donations in order to sort through their current stockpile and get a better assessment of what is needed after the influx of donations. A representative of the institute said in an email to the RFT the organization is running out of space to keep all of the donations.

Donations currently still being accepted are gift cards to various stores in any amounts and bus passes. Suggested stores for gift cards are Target, Aldi, Schnucks, Walmart, Jay’s International and gas stations. Visa gift cards are also encouraged.

Gift cards will be distributed to those currently in need and to new families when they arrive.

International Institute of St. Louis is also collecting stress balls for therapy sessions, diapers in sizes three to six and indoor plants for gardening. Volunteers are also needed to help sort through items. The organization posted on Facebook that they’ve seen over 300 volunteer inquiries. If you want to help, that form can be found here.

Other donation opportunities are popping up elsewhere in Missouri. Spencer Toder, a Missouri Democrat candidate for U.S. Senate, is hosting a supply drive in Webster Groves at 6 South Old Orchard. Toder’s drive lasts from September 3 to September 17. The supply drive partnered with former Army Captain Charles Mullenger, who started a GoFundMe to benefit Afghan refugees that's reached over $35,000, to offer a chance to donate money instead of items.

Alderwoman Anne Schweitzer tweeted Oasis International is looking for volunteers to sort through donations they’ve received, as well.

One thing is for sure: St. Louisans show up. And they're making sure our new neighbors feel as welcome as possible.

Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at
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