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Bipartisan Vernon County clothing drive for Afghan refugees ends

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Sorting donations

A volunteer sorts donations given during the Vernon County bipartisan clothing drive for Afghan refugees.

Members of the Democratic and Republican parties in Vernon County that came together in November to gather clothing and personal items for refugees being housed at Ft. McCoy say they have met the immediate needs of that population and are no longer collecting items. The group says the drive was a success and they were able to gather over 12 pallets of material that went to the base over the last month.

The group organized local businesses, churches, civic organizations and nonprofits to collect the items and then shipped the material to Ft. Mc Coy where they were distributed by the nonprofit organization Save Our Allies. The materials included clothing, personal care items, teaching materials, sewing supplies games, books and suitcases.

Initially there were about 13,000 refugees at Ft. McCoy waiting placement. It is unclear how many remain at the base, but the group says the placement of refugees to permanent homes has gone quicker than expected, reducing the need to continue collecting materials.

The groups said the outpouring of support from people and businesses exceeded their expectations and they were able to gather a large amount of materials in a very short time. The group said several businesses in particular stepped up to provide critical items and services. Southwest Sanitation in Viroqua provided large bins to collect and transport materials. Nelson Agri-Center provided a truck and driver to haul the materials to the base. Proline Printing provided printing for posters. Cashton Farm Supply donated pallets and sylerstudio provided graphic design.

Civic organizations helped with setting up collection points and collecting material including the Viroqua Rotary and Viroqua Lions. A number of businesses and organizations collected material including Nelson Agri-Center, Sleepy Hollow Chevrolet, Southwest Sanitation, Cashton Farm Supply, County Seat Laundry, Gundersen St. Joseph’s Hospital Hillsboro, Quillin’s Market, Vernon Memorial Hospital, CouleeCap, Viroqua Area Schools and Westby Area Schools.

The group said any remaining materials collected will be distributed to local non-profits and other outlets to help those in need.

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