BALTIMORE (WJZ) — The Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service will launch a donation drive to support Afghan allies and refugees the Baltimore nonprofit is helping to resettle. As the U.S. government evacuates thousands from Kabul, LIRS expects an increased need for community support.

LIRS is asking for donations of basic necessities, including gift cards from major retailers, backpacks, school supplies, diapers, laptops in working condition, cellphones and SIM cards, kitchen utensils, dishware, linens, and cleaning supplies. LIRS is not accepting donations of furniture at this time.

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“This is an all-hands-on-deck moment in our nation’s history. We simply can’t do this work without the compassion and generosity of the local community,” said Krish O’Mara Vignarajah, LIRS president and CEO. “If you have room in your heart to help these families start over from scratch, now is the time to make a difference.”

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The drive will take place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at LIRS’ headquarters, 700 Light Street, Baltimore. Donations will go toward Afghan families that have arrived in the Delaware, Maryland and Virginia area, as well as other locations nationwide.

Anyone unable to donate is asked to visit LIRS’ website for other ways to help.

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“These Afghan allies have made tremendous sacrifices in faithfully serving alongside our troops and embassy in Afghanistan. Tragically, they have no future in a Taliban-controlled Afghanistan,” Vignarajah said. “These allies and other at-risk Afghans are literally fleeing with nothing but the clothes on their backs. We want to do our part to make sure they receive a warm welcome in their new communities.”

CBS Baltimore Staff