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Volunteers continue collecting items for Afghan refugees at Camp Atterbury

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Posted at 6:57 PM, Sep 29, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-29 19:25:14-04

CAMP ATTERBURY — Volunteers with Team Rubicon have been working at a warehouse just outside of Camp Atterbury for the last three weeks.

Team Rubicon is an organization that is usually dispatched as disaster relief after natural disasters, but have also taken on the humanitarian effort at several military camps across the country.

Every day, around 20 volunteers show up at a large warehouse in Edinburgh. They accept donations from individuals, corporations and church groups. Then, they are tasked with sorting through the items, putting them into categories and inputting them into a system to make sure everyone can access what is currently available.

“The generosity that we have been receiving from the community, it’s been overwhelming,” Jennifer Corsi, a volunteer with Team Rubicon said.

Corsi has been volunteering every day at the warehouse for the last three weeks. Her first day was on Sept. 11, the 20-year anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

“Being here on that day and seeing what we had to do and being on base and seeing what we were tasked with and short interactions with some folks, it was one of the most moving experiences of my whole life,” Corsi explained.

Volunteers help unload items, sort them and then pack them up again.

“The soldiers on base come out and pick up these things and take them to our guests on base,” Russ Hessler, the Task Force Leader for Camp Atterbury Resettlement Efforts for Team Rubicon said.

While some volunteers like Corsi are local, others are driving hours to come to lend a hand.

Mahdieh Aghazadeh drove three hours from Warsaw to volunteer. On Wednesday, she helped sort through some traditional clothing items that were donated. She says these items will help refugees feel more comfortable here in Indiana.

“They are far from home, they probably don’t have much right here and we want them to feel welcome and at home as much as we can,” she said.

Aghazadeh is originally from Iran and was happy to come help in any way she could.

“I thought maybe my familiarity with the language may be helpful, too. I know about the culture a little bit,” Aghazadeh added.

Hessler said he has been overwhelmed by the response from the community and is so grateful so many want to make a difference.

“There’s a little phrase I like, ‘Because I have been given much I, too, must give.’ And these individuals through no fault of their own, they had a tough situation back home and they helped us," Hessler said. "Many of them were great assets to the United States. Now they are here, and I am in a position where I can take time here away from my family and I can help them."

For more information on how to volunteer, click here.

The most needed donation items right now are warm winter clothing, shoes of all sizes, umbrella strollers and baby strollers. For a full list of items, including an Amazon wishlist, click here.

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