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Donation drive underway for Afghan refugees being house at Fort McCoy

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 4:01 PM CDT
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OSHKOSH, Wis. (WBAY) - A donation drive is underway in Oshkosh to help the Afghan refugees being housed at Fort McCoy. Action 2 News first reported last week about a local woman who wanted to help the refugees but couldn’t find a local organization collecting the goods she wanted to donate so she started her own collection. The community is supporting the cause.

Denise L’Hommedieu has a team of volunteers helping her collect donations for Afghan refugees, and she needs it. According to L’Hommedieu, “It’s been crazy busy and I love it.”

She organized a three-day donation drive, which started Friday, in the parking lot of the U-Haul store on Koeller Street in Oshkosh. She’s collecting hygiene items, diapers and new clothes as well as comfort items and toys for kids.

L’Hommedieu and her volunteers are sorting through the items, boxing them up, and packing a truck that she will drive to a site near Fort McCoy to be distributed to the refugees.

“We are so impressed with this community. We’ve had people from Menasha drive down here. So, I can’t be complaining about anything,” she says, adding, “We upsized the truck to 20 foot, which we kind of figured would happen and it has. The early donations would have filled up a 10-footer, so it’s been a great day.”

A steady stream of vehicles have made their way through the donation site during the first four-hour collection. People were opening up their hearts and wallets to supply the necessities to complete strangers.

Norma Dyer from Oshkosh says, “I have a grandson and a granddaughter, yes, I was thinking of them when I picked out the things that the kids would love.”

“I couldn’t imagine what it would be like if I had to leave my country with just what I had in my hands. It’s the least we could do for people that we’ll never meet, and hopefully it will help somebody out,” adds Jennifer Dubie.

It’s this kind of support L’Hommedieu was hoping for when she organized this drive. And while not surprised by the community support, she’s grateful for the kindness. “The people coming and dropping things off, the donors are just generous to a fault. We love it.”

Volunteers will be collecting donations on Saturday and Sunday from 9 A.M. until 1 P.M.

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