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The recent evacuation of Afghan refugees to the U.S. is the largest resettlement effort in our nation's history. To date, more than 500 Afghan allies have arrived in Nashville and many more are expected in the coming months.

Upon arrival, our Afghan friends receive a hot meal, a meager set of personal supplies, temporary housing and a small monetary stipend to cover food, clothes and any other needs. These supplies are inadequate for survival are not intended to sustain families long-term. Instead, the resettlement apparatus was designed to connect refugees to social services, employment and other resources to help them become self-sufficient. Currently, this resettlement infrastructure is so overwhelmed that Afghan families deplete their initial resources long before they are connected to these services, resulting in crisis conditions that include acute food-insecurity and unaddressed medical needs. TRA seeks to fill these gaps with immediate aid to families in the form of food, clothes and transportation.

Refugees are tenacious, resourceful people who have endured unimaginable difficulties and heartbreak. The Afghan refugees who arrive in Nashville worked closely with the American military and associated companies in Afghanistan. They put their own lives and their families at risk on behalf of democracy and US citizens serving overseas and fled their homes in fear of Taliban retaliation.

We believe that their immense sacrifice to our country most certainly deserves adequate resources to be successful as they begin their new lives in the United States. TRA pledges to stand with our Afghan allies and face these unique challenges together. With your help, we can give back a fraction of what they have given us and show them that everyone is welcome in Nashville.

Crisis Points:

01.

Lack of Transportation

The majority of people have been placed in temporary housing that is not within walking distance to food, stores or healthcare. They are isolated and resources are out of reach.

02.

Food Insecurity

Families are regularly running out of food. Many have neither the monetary means, transportation, language skills or knowledge of local resources to secure food. Currently, resettlement caseworkers are too overwhelmed to ensure that needs are met.

03.

Insufficient Clothing/Baby Supplies

Many individuals fled with just the clothes on their backs during the summer and do not have coats and proper shoes for our winter climate. Additionally, children and infants are outgrowing clothing and in need of new items.

04.

Insufficient Household Supplies

Families should receive a one-time provision of basic cleaning and home goods. Due to lack of resources, many never do and are going without basic supplies for housekeeping and cooking meals.

These ally communities also need English classes, professional development, medical care, mental health support, and other services integral to their success. We are partnering with other organizations to assist in providing these services while we deliver the most critical survival support listed above.

What We Do:

  • Food — Weekly food deliveries of Afghan bread, Halal meats, milk, eggs and dry goods.
  • Bicycles — Distributing donated bicycles to families along with helmet, bike locks and baskets.
  • Home Goods and Furniture — Providing new or donated home goods for cooking, cleaning and homemaking, children's toys and furniture.
  • Clothing — Supplying a variety of adult and children's purchased new socks and underwear as well as donated clothing items with a particular focus on coats and shoes.
  • Women and Baby Supplies — Providing a monthly supply of women's hygiene products, diapering supplies, formula and bottles.
  • Mobile Vaccine Clinic — Coordinating with medical providers to secure a mobile clinic that shores up vaccination service gaps
  • Professional Development and Employment Networking — Assisting Afghan's with resume writing and networking with local businesses and recruiters for job placement.
  • Medical Advocacy — Coordinating with medical providers and accompanying patients to medical appointments in person, facilitating telemedicine, retrieving medications from the pharmacy, financing medications and copays and setting up mobile vaccine clinics.
  • Transportation Services — Individual ride coordination and shuttle services for Afghans to get to work, appointments and community resources.
  • English Classes (ESL) — In person, instructor led training for all levels of English proficiency.
  • Immigration Advocacy — Coordinating with community partners to help refugees navigate immigration processing around Asylum and Special Immigrant Visa

About Us

Compassion is the sometimes fatal capacity for feeling what it's like to live inside somebody else's skin.

It is the knowledge that there can never really be any peace and joy for me until there is peace and joy finally for you too.

- Frederick Buechner

Our Story

The inspiration for TRA began at the Nashville airport in the fall of 2021, an appropriate place for a journey to begin. Katie Finn was working for a local resettlement agency, waiting to welcome one of the first Afghan arrivals. He emerged from the gate alone, clutching a plastic bag of documents and nothing else. He had no luggage with him and no bags on the carousel. He had no coat to keep him warm in the cool afternoon and only sandals on his feet. Katie couldn't forget about him or shake her worry that he and other arriving Afghans wouldn't have what they needed to stay warm. Soon after, she put the word out to her neighbors and friends—that Afghan allies are arriving totally unprepared for a Tennessee winter. The response was immediate and overwhelming; Katie's living-room overflowed with donations and she was able to give new sets of warm clothes and jackets not only to that young man, but also to many other Afghan refugees as well.

That call for support made its way to Julie Pine and led her to spend a Saturday in Katie's living room, organizing donated clothes. As a mother of two children herself, Julie was especially touched by the large number of families with small children who needed significant help to start a new life in the United States. Julie and Katie decided to combine their particular backgrounds to address the immediate needs of hundreds of people. Julie's program management skills and Katie's humanitarian expertise allowed them to scale the operation and widen their impact. During this time, Katie met Saleem Tahiri in the Afghan community as he visited families and offered them his support. Katie and Saleem quickly realized that he was working towards the same goals and brought to the table the unique understanding of the culture, language and first-hand experience of the resettlement process. Katie, Saleem and Julie decided that it was time to make it official and Tennessee Resettlement Aid (TRA), a nonprofit, was born. From these first days of individuals taking action to help their new friends and neighbors stay warm, TRA has grown to have a full leadership team, an extensive network of volunteers and a robust and diverse offering of aid, advocacy and data analysis programs.

  • Katie Finn — Bio

  • ‐ Director
    Cofounder
  • Saleem Tahiri — Bio

  • ‐ Technical Lead
    ‐ Community Engagement Lead
    Cofounder
  • Julie Pine — Bio

  • ‐ Operations Lead
    Cofounder
  • Ryan Kenigsberg — Bio

  • ‐ Food Services
    ‐ Lead Esl Teacher
  • Emily Hollowell — Bio

  • ‐ Physical Donations Lead
  • Ashley Schwartz — Bio

  • ‐ Tech Provisioning Lead
  • Aziz Qayoumi — Bio

  • ‐ Lead Volunteer
  • Julie Schoerke Gallagher — Bio

  • ‐ Lead Volunteer
  • Kennedy Wallace — Bio

  • ‐ Volunteer Lead
  • Angie Wallace — Bio

  • ‐ Volunteer Lead
  • Laura Hall — Bio

  • ‐ Volunteer lead
  • Bryan Hall — Bio

  • ‐ Volunteer lead

Contact Us

If you have any questions about TRA or how you can help, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Send all inquiries to:
info@tennesseeresettlementaid.org