Abilene family works with nonprofit to organize donation drive for Afghan refugees


ABILENE, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – Abilene is a city known for its giving spirit, but as Kristen Ellison and her husband Tate recently learned, organizing a relief effort yourself can be a bit more difficult than regular volunteer work.

“It’s a little overwhelming to have people bringing things to your house throughout the day, on weekends, even after hours when we’re just home from work,” said Ellison.

Kristen Ellison with another Volunteer

The Ellisons say it was at a monthly Taylor County Democrat meeting that they first heard of donation drives being held in other parts of the state benefiting refugees who were displaced from their homes following the fall of Afghanistan.

“We heard about a drive being held by some churches in Midland and we wanted to organize one here,” Ellison says.

After reaching out to local churches and humanitarian organizations, the Ellisons partnered with the International Rescue Committee (IRC) to find out where and how they could help.

“They needed a lot of new or gently used items just to get people established in homes” Says Ellison.

Throughout October and November the Ellisons took in clothing, school supplies, and various other items to make the transition from home to here just a bit easier for these families.

“I know that we had over 150 pounds of clothing items brought to us that we sorted and boxed up, all the different things that they need in a brand new city that’s unfamiliar to them, that way they feel comfortable here and welcome here,” Ellison says.

Even if they don’t know the circumstance of each and every person, knowing that they’re in need is enough to make the Ellisons lend a helping hand.

“They’re not here for any political reason, they’re here because they needed a place to go and be safe,” says Ellison.

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