(Beaver Dam) A Beaver Dam based non-profit played a critical role in aiding the Afghan refugees at Fort McCoy. St. Vincent de Paul of Dodge County Store Manager Ben Nelson says other organizations throughout the Midwest started asking months ago how to best pool money and resources to help the refugees. Nelson says he quickly raised his hand after seeing the need to provide support. He says there are over 13,000 refugees at Fort McCoy with about 45-percent of that population children. Nelson adds that most, if not all, arrived with only the clothes on their backs.
Nelson says they have received over $30-thousand-dollars in cash donations from other St. Vincent de Paul stores to purchase winter clothing. He says the Beaver Dam store delivered over 39-hundred hats and mittens in all sizes and over a thousand sweatshirts and sweatpants. United Way of Dodge County and the Walmart Distribution Center have also donated to the cause.
Nelson says he delivered all the donations to the Sparta Armory where it is sorted, palletized, then sent on to Fort McCoy. He says this process is done by Team Rubican, an international organization that specializes in disaster response. He says they have over 100 volunteers to sort the clothes and to play with the kids. Nelson notes there are also donations coming in from all major organizations including Red Cross and Salvation Army.
Nelson says all of this could not have been possible without the recent completion of their store expansion that saw the installation of a new trucking dock and the purchase of a new delivery truck.