Hello Friends, 

I am asking for your help in my mission to help our new Afghan neighbors as they arrive in St. Louis. I have been working everyday since November 1st to help every Afghan Family I meet. Thus far, I have met 10 families and I continue to meet more everyday. The Holy Spirit has been guiding me through this unexpected journey every step of the way. My friends and family have been incredibly generous in their support, donations and prayers. I am so blessed to have so many caring and generous people in my life. Thank you!

The needs of these people are so simple. They need love and friendship more than anything. My dear friends Delia Andrews, Katie Schwaneke, Kim Waller and I are out there everyday taking them to the store, doctors appointments, registering for school, walking them to/from the bus stop, setting up food stamps and Medicaid, securing jobs, housing, vehicles, and insurance. We are reuniting families separated during the evacuation by flying family members in from various US cities. We have dedicated ourselves to loving and helping these families. We volunteer our time because we know this is what God is calling us to do. We are now family for all of these people we meet.

We could really use your help financially to fund many of these tasks. 

I'll share some facts with you:

Only those who worked for the US Army or US Embassy in Afghanistan were allowed to come to the US. These are true patriots we are meeting. They are so proud of their work with the Americans. They dedicated their lives to protect their people and work side by side with us in Afghanistan. 

Many had to leave spouses or children behind because there was not enough room on the plane for their whole family. I know a family who was able to bring only 3 of their 5 children with them because there was not enough room on the plane. They had to leave their oldest 2 children behind (ages 9 and 11) with a close relative. As of today, March 1, 2022, Afghanistan is not allowing anyone to leave the country. Its heartbreaking. 

They come here with $0. 1 pair of shoes each. Documents. That's it. Period. 

They are in constant communication with their families in Afghanistan who are stuck in their home because of fear of the Taliban. There are no jobs, therefore no income. If they do have money, only the men are allowed to venture out to get food and its dangerous for the men to leave the home. They are surviving on very little. They call their family members in the US to beg them to send them money. The ones who have jobs in the US are sending the little money they have via Western Union. I have met many family members via facetime video calls to Afghanistan and the parents, spouses and siblings of my new Afghan friends thank me over and over again for helping. Many grateful tears shed on these calls. 

We have many wonderful employers in St. Louis providing jobs at $14/hour. Every Afghan man I have met is so grateful and eager for job opportunities. They want more than one job. Moms stay home with the kids. 

Most of the Afghans I meet speak little or no English. They speak Pashto or Dari.

The government has provided funding to the international institute for housing for the first 3 months. They are charging these families for the basic household goods and beds that are delivered to their apartments. I can show you receipts. Its unbelievable. These people have nothing and we are charging them for basic needs. The institute is supposed to help setup food stamps, social security numbers and Medicaid for every person. However, they are greatly understaffed. It takes weeks and sometimes months for these things to happen.

We have 130 people still in hotels because the institute does not have the proper staff to find them housing. One family with 7 children has been in the hotel for 4 months. They have 2 small rooms that don't even connect. The kids range in age from 16 to newborn. These kids should be in school!

Ways that I have spent money that has been donated thus far: Safety, emissions and repairs on donated vehicles. Translators at the DMV so they could pass the written permit test. New shoes for dads going to work and kids going to school. First month of car insurance. Paid for plane tickets to bring relatives to St. Louis. Trips to the grocery store or Aghan Market to get groceriels before the food stamps kick in. Haircuts. Basic medicine (Tylenol/Advil). Security Deposits for apartments. Rent. Uber rides to/from work. Used Phones and Computers. Washers/Dryers. The list goes on and on. These needs are constant. 

I could go on and on about the hospitality, kindness and gratitude shown from every single Afghan I meet. I love getting to know their culture and traditions. I am honored to help them everyday. We took one of our young moms and her baby to an Afghan restaurant today. It was the first time she had ever been to a restaurant in her life! Can you imagine?

We are getting help from St. Vincent DePaul, Oasis International, and various food pantries. We have many resources for free clothes, diapers, furniture and household supplies. Some great places you can donate to are Home Sweet Home for furniture. Oasis International for clothes, phones, and computers. 

We work closely with Welcome Neighbor St. Louis. If you have a car to donate and would like a tax write-off we can go through this organization. 

Again, thanks to all of those who have continued to support this mission. I pray that you all will consider a monetary donation. Please forward this to anyone who might want to contribute. 

100% of donations go to helping the Afghan Families. 

We are working on setting up a Non-Profit. But for now, this is our best option. 

Thank you!

Ann Wittman