SPARTA, Wis. (WLAX/WEUX) – Donations for Afghan evacuees have been coming in from across the state, but now a push is being made for warmer clothing ahead of the winter months.
Team Rubicon has been collecting donations at the Sparta National Guard Armory for the past two weeks, with soldiers making daily deliveries to Fort McCoy.
Planning Section Chief Jeff Wagg estimates twenty pallets of items are being transported each day.
Wagg says there is an abundance of certain items for the evacuees, but winter clothing and shoes are needed the most at this time.
Due to the amount of donations that Team Rubicon is going through on a daily basis, Wagg is urging the people of Wisconsin to supply the evacuees with brand new items.
“If someone donates us a box of twelve brand new pairs of pants, we can take that box and just ship it right off,” Wagg explained. “But if we get a bag filled with assorted clothing, we have to sort through that clothing, and then catalog it, and then decide what we can use or not.”
The donation process is also changing, as Team Rubicon will mainly be accepting largescale, pre-planned deliveries at the Sparta armory.
Smaller donations will be collected by the Salvation Army at four locations in Oak Creek, Madison, La Crosse, and Wausau.
“Those four specific Salvation Army locations are set up for this specific drive, they’re ready, they’re waiting, they’re prepared to receive the items,” said. Maj. Steven Merritt, a Divisional Commander with the Salvation Army of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan.
Merritt adds that donations at the four locations will be shipped to Sparta, where Team Rubicon will prepare them for delivery.
While it’s unknown how long the evacuees will be at Fort McCoy, Federal Coordinator for Operation Allies Welcome Angie Salazar says everyone at the base is getting ready to be integrated into the country.
“Our guests at Fort McCoy are currently completing immigration paperwork, including employment authorizations and health screenings, in preparation for their resettlement into the United States,” Salazar detailed.
Wagg says there’s no set end date for Team Rubicon’s mission as of now, adding that it may extend to either Sept. 30 or Oct. 31.
A full list of items that Team Rubicon is accepting for the Afghan evacuees can be found here.