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Indiana discontinuing Afghan donation collections as population and need diminishes

The statewide donation effort to help Afghan evacuees at Camp Atterbury will wind down this week as existing donations meet the needs of the thousands of evacuees who are being resettled across the country.

The eight Indiana National Guard armories used as collection sites will cease collections at 4 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 10. 

The outpouring of support for the Afghans temporarily housed in Indiana has led to a surplus of some items, and planning is underway to determine how to provide needed resources in the months ahead to evacuees who have been resettled. Camp Atterbury is expected to house evacuees through the end of January.

“The success of this initiative to support Operations Allies Welcome reaffirms the undeniable fact that Hoosier Hospitality is alive and well,” Governor Eric J. Holcomb said. “I am extremely thankful how Indiana residents stepped up to help these evacuees, many of whom sacrificed so much for our country.”

As of Dec. 1, Camp Atterbury reported more than 1.6 million items had been donated since Gov. Holcomb launched the statewide program in September. Data from donation efforts at other Afghan safe haven sites indicate Indiana was a national leader in the support of the mission. The Indiana Department of Homeland Security, Indiana Department of Transportation, Indiana Department of Correction and other state agencies collaborated on this mission.

National Guard personnel kept the armories operational, helped pick up and deliver items and completed a variety of other tasks to make the mission a success.

“Our Indiana National Guard soldiers, airmen and Guard Reservists were proud to assist in Operation Hoosier Allies Support along with our state agencies in collecting donations for our Afghan allies who were instrumental to our forces, including our Guardsmen, in America’s operations in Afghanistan for nearly 20 years,” said the Indiana National Guard Adjutant General R. Dale Lyles.

Camp Atterbury officials are working to establish a clearinghouse of remaining items to help support Indiana resettlement agencies. As of Dec. 1, more than 300 Afghans have been resettled in Indiana with the potential for up to a total of 700 to be resettled in Indiana in the coming weeks. State and federal personnel have been working with several resettlement agencies, including Exodus International, Catholic Charities of Fort Wayne, South Bend and Indianapolis, The Welcome Network and the Burmese American Community Institute.

The Camp Atterbury Rail Deployment Facility, at 5921 Schoolhouse Road in Franklin, Ind., 46131, will continue to accept donations until the end of January 2022.

Sites still collecting donations until 4 p.m. Friday include:

Fort Wayne: 130 W. Cook Road, Fort Wayne, IN, 46825

South Bend: 1901 S. Kemble Avenue, South Bend, IN, 46613

Lafayette: 5280 Haggarty Lane, Lafayette, IN, 47905

Terre Haute: 3614 Maple Avenue, Terre Haute, IN, 47804

Kessler (Indy): 2625 W. Kessler Blvd N Dr, Indianapolis, IN 46222

Evansville: 3300 E. Division St., Evansville, IN, 47715

New Albany: 2909 Grant Line Road, New Albany, IN, 47150

Columbus: 2160 Arnold St. Columbus, IN, 47203

Organizations that have been collecting items for the Afghans at Camp Atterbury can contact Tyler Smith with Team Rubicon after Dec. 10 to arrange to drop off large donations. The items most in need include wallets, shoes, bras, fingernail clippers, personal hygiene items and activity items like crochet supplies, games, books and toys.

Indiana Department of Homeland Security

Established in 2005, the Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) leads the way to a safer and more secure Indiana. With jurisdictions involving emergency management, building code enforcement, as well as training and certification for first responders around the state, IDHS works to provide a safe, secure and resilient Indiana. For more information about IDHS, visit dhs.in.gov.