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CNU students, faculty pack up clothing donations for Afghanistan refugees

Due to an overwhelming amount of donations, the team of volunteers will continue packing through the week.

NEWPORT NEWS, Va. — Christopher Newport University students and faculty gathered Wednesday to help those in need.  

The group collected and sorted clothing donations for Afghanistan refugees who have arrived, or will be arriving, in Virginia following the recent evacuations.

More than 25,000 refugees have been welcomed onto U.S. military bases including some here in Virginia at Fort Lee, Fort Pickett, and Quantico Marine Base.

Fort Lee was already hosing immigrants who had fled, and when evacuations started, capacity at Quantico and Fort Pickett was ramped up. 

When these refugees left, many of them left with just the clothes on their back or one small bag. Either way, it's not enough for these individuals and families who have relocated. 

"A week ago we received a request, a week ago today, for an urgent and immediate need at Fort Pickett," said Vanessa Buehlman, the community engagement director at CNU.

That's when CNU started collecting donations. They received both men's and women's clothes, as well as shoes and children's items. 

Volunteers sorted all the items and inspected them to make sure they were of good quality. Then, they got packed away and loaded into trucks. 

"This is a small way to be like, you are welcome here," said Garcia Quintana, a senior at CNU. "People do care for you and are aware of what you've been through."

On Saturday, everything will be sent to Fort Pickett. That, however, is not until after a few more days of packing. 

The group had initially planned on being finishing with sorting and packing by Wednesday afternoon. But, due to an overwhelming amount of donations, they still have a few days of work to do. 

"We want to show them the best of what our country is. We will keep going until it's done; until the trucks pull out with the stuff on Saturday," said Buehlman.

Refugees will remain at the bases for nearly a year while they await relocation.