Last week the Drew community participated in a blanket and baggage drive run by the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict and the Center for Civic Engagement. Students were encouraged to drop off their new and gently used blankets, jackets, socks, duffle bags, suitcases and cell phones to be donated to nearly 10,000 Afghan immigrants.
In the last week of August, thousands of immigrants were safely transferred to Fort Dix, a U.S. Army post located in Burlington County, N.J. The unexpected change for numerous immigrant families left them struggling to acquire the resources they needed. The community was asked to donate items to aid these individuals, many of whom faced danger in Afghanistan due to their assistance to the U.S. military.
Professor Jonathan Golden, Director of the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict and a leader in Drew Action Scholars, helped execute the campus event and collected monetary donations from those who wished to contribute.
With cold weather approaching, the community was encouraged to donate warmer gear to help the refugees. “I got a big box truck and delivered luggage, new and used; brand new sleeping bags and inflatable pillows donated by a [theology] student,” said Golden, who also said the donation included warm clothes like brand new socks and gloves.
Multiple communities in the Morris County area teamed together to help. “Groups that helped with collections/donations include Drew Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict, RAMP (Refugee Assistance Morris Partners), MARE (Madison Alliance for Racial Equity) and several local Girl Scout groups, including Florham Park and Madison, as well, of course, as the Drew community generally,” Golden said. He expressed how generous the community has been in their donation efforts to help the Afghan immigrants.
All donated items were delivered directly to Fort Dix for immediate distribution. For more information on the drive, reach out to the Center on Religion, Culture and Conflict at firstname.lastname@example.org or the Center for Civic Engagement at email@example.com.