EDINBURGH — Indiana residents and businesses are donating hundreds of clothing and much-needed children’s items daily at locations across the state to help Afghan evacuees temporarily housed at Camp Atterbury.
In addition, hundreds of Hoosiers are volunteering on the base in Johnson County every day, sorting the donated items, fitting the evacuees for clothing, organizing movie nights or other fun activities, and providing educational opportunities for the children.
This week an additional donation site opened across the road from Camp Atterbury at the Johnson County Parks and Recreation Amphitheater. This is in addition to private donation drives ongoing across the state and nine Indiana National Guard armories that are collecting items daily.
Team Rubicon, a national organization that mobilizes veterans to help during humanitarian crisis, is receiving the donation at the amphitheater, 7105 S. Kern St, Edinburgh, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days per week.
“The need is there, and we can help,” said Michael Martel, a Team Rubicon operations associate for Task Force Atterbury. “It’s important to lend a hand and pull people up. That is what America is about, and that is what Team Rubicon does. It’s important to help, for no other reason than just because it’s needed.”
The team’s humanitarian and disaster response work is 100 percent fueled by donations and carried out by veteran-led teams of volunteers. The goal has been to lighten the burden of the transition to the U.S. and to provide assistance to other non-governmental organizations supporting the Afghan evacuees, said Martel.
The most critical need is for cold-weather clothing and baby formula.
“It’s been a community effort to ensure that the donations Team Rubicon has received from the public are getting to our guests here,” said Beth Windisch, an external affairs officer with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security. “What I find really inspiring is that everyone is working hard to achieve that in partnership. All the different groups here are locked step-by-step to focus on taking care of these guests.”
Besides the Johnson County site, nine Indiana National Guard armories opened this week as regional collection sites for the public to drop off new items to help clothe and support the evacuees.
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
Indiana Department of Correction and Indiana Department of Transportation personnel, with coordination from the State Emergency Operations Center and the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, are ensuring the donations are delivered to Camp Atterbury.
At the armories, Indiana National Guardsmen and Indiana Guard Reserve volunteers are accepting the following new items:
Men’s and women’s unbranded, modest clothes such as long sleeve t-shirts, underwear, pants, jackets and coats in sizes small to large. No shorts or tank tops.
Children’s clothing, including baby and newborn clothes, hats and socks
Socks, hats, shoes and slide-on sandals, no flip flops, for evacuees of all ages
The armories are open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. All items must be new and in their original packaging.
Other new items to consider donating include baby diapers, coloring books, crayons and toys.
“It’s a big goal, but if we all put in the effort we can attain it together,” said Windisch. “A lot of little pieces makes for a big puzzle, and together we can accomplish the whole piece.”