Letter: Thank you to those who welcomed a family fleeing Afghanistan
The following is a letter to the editor submitted to the newspaper by a reader. It does not necessarily reflect the views of the Echo Press. To submit a letter, send it to email@example.com or Echo Press, P.O. Box 549, Alexandria, MN 56308.
To the editor:
In January 2022, seven people came together to form the Lakes Area Sponsor Circle. Our goal was to welcome a family fleeing Afghanistan. The next months were filled with learning about state and local services and benefits, legal and health needs, language and translation services and connecting culturally.
We started a major fundraising effort and began steps to secure housing and furnishings. All of this had to be done prior to being accepted as a sponsor circle.
In July, we were elated to be matched with two families of two brothers each. They are caring, intelligent, hard-working and determined young men. All four were forced to leave immediate family members behind in Afghanistan, hoping that by coming to the U.S., they will be able to later bring their families here for a better life.
Their top priority is to get asylum so that this can happen.
These young men played a significant role in our lives for over six months. We're so proud of them. They became self-supporting while living in Alexandria and worked hard to improve their English skills. However, they struggled with isolation and made the difficult decision to move to other states where they had family and friends. We understand that need and, as sad as it has been to have them go, we feel fortunate to have given them a start in the United States.
We want to thank this amazing community for welcoming these families. We would specially like to acknowledge Pilot Travel Center, Henry’s Foods, D. Michael B’s and District 206 for providing valuable work experience to these young men. We’re sure they weren’t disappointed.
Churches, businesses and individuals donated money, furniture, household items and time to make this a success; the CareerForce Center provided endless help, along with ESL teachers and staff at Adult Basic Ed, and countless others.