Local businesses host donation drives to welcome Afghan refugees


ST. LOUIS – Local businesses are hosting donation drives for Afghan refugees while St. Louis groups prepare for a wave of up to 1,000 people fleeing their homes.

“This is an easy way that people can do something. Your house, their couch,” said Amanda Helman, owner of Golden Gems.

Helman and the women at Golden Gems have an Amazon wish list up with the most needed items for refugees.

More than 200 items have been placed so far.

“We had a couple of 10-year-old girls come in yesterday and they spent their own money to buy a bunch of items off the list so it’s just really cool to see all the people wanting to help and pitch in,” Helman said.

The items bought will be distributed by the International Institute of St. Louis with more goods added to the list daily.

The desire to help moves throughout the city.

In the Southampton neighborhood, the Copper Pig restaurant has established a donation drive as well.

“The owner now says his phone has been ringing nonstop since (Sunday) morning, all day today, people asking what they can donate, when they can bring it by; so it makes you feel really good,” said Kevin Werner, the host of a trivia night to benefit the refugees.

The donations line the floor and creep up the walls.

“This is St. Louis and the people in this city take care of each other and of other people,” Werner said.

Donations will be received at the Copper Pig or the International Institute.

“These people are going to be displaced. I mean, what’s going on there is a pretty bad situation, so we will figure so any little thing we can do to help,” said John Walker.

If you want to donate, both places encourage people to give the most-needed items. Right now, that’s socks and underwear.

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