COLUMBIA, Md. (WJZ) — A Columbia community is coming together to collect winter coats for Afghan refugees resettling in the DMV area.

Elsie Joel-Morse says over the past two weeks, thanks to word of mouth and dozens of generous hearts, she’s been able to gather close to 1,000 winter coats for Afghan refugees housed at the Quantico Marine Base in Virginia.

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“They get all these different emails, ‘hey, we need this, we need that,’ whether it’s diapers or strollers. And then we got an email saying, ‘hey, we need coats.’ It’s not cold back home,” said Joel-Morse.

Maryland ranks fourth in the nation for SIV or special immigrant visa arrivals and welcomed about 200 refugees in August, according to Gov. Larry Hogan who announced his commitment to receive Afghan refugees as US forces withdrew from Afghanistan and the Taliban regained control.

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“Now, with the launch of Welcome.US, all of us can help by donating to frontline organizations, offering to serve as a host family and by providing essential services,” said Hogan.

As many Afghani families begin to resettle and rebuild their lives in the US, helping hands from their local communities like this one are a crucial asset.

“It’s amazing to see people in the community really want to help and seeing the love and support is pretty amazing,” said Joel-Morse.

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Rachel Menitoff