ROCKPORT — Allies of Our Afghan Allies prepped potential volunteers Tuesday night on the work cut out for them regarding resettling Afghan refugees.

The information session was held at the Unitarian Universalist Society of Rockport. Attendees were in person and online via a live stream on the church’s Facebook page.

Catholic Charities Archdiocese of Boston has so far relocated total 33 Afghans in the Boston area. The group hopes to relocate 150 total.

AAA, an organization of local municipal officials and church leaders, is tasked with helping the refugees relocated to Cape Ann by Catholic Charities transition into their new lives. Cape Ann residents are encouraged to help in this endeavor.

Marjean Perhot, director of resettlement at Catholic Charities, stated that due to the crisis situation in Afghanistan, there’s not much information on the refugees.

“People say, ‘How can you not know if they speak English?'” she said. “We had one that was four months pregnant and nobody told us. Luckily, she’s now receiving prenatal care.”

Volunteers will need to help secure apartments for the refugees — if need be, they may need to cosign the lease.

Once the apartment is locked down, volunteers will need to furnish it and stock the house with at least a week’s worth of groceries. Then, they’re expected to greet the refugees at the airport and bring them to their new homes. Cooking a homemade meal is also encouraged.

Perhot said Catholic Charities is “committed to the idea of self-sufficiency.” Once the refugees arrive on Cape Ann, they are cleared to work and receive public benefits.

“They’re eager to work because they want to send money home,” she continued, adding that “we’ve been encouraging them to save their money.”

Social Security cards may take time as the federal government scrambles to keep up with the crisis. Perhot said it may be as soon as a week or as long as a month.

It’s currently up in the air how many refugees will touch down in Cape Ann. When they do, Catholic Charities hopes volunteers will commit 12 months of their time to the relocation efforts.

After Perhot spoke, the Rev. Alice Erickson of the West Gloucester Trinitarian Congregational Church announced that AAA has raised just more than $10,000 for the refugees through its GoFundMe fundraiser and private donations. The money will be used to cover housing costs, education, employment training, clothing, food, medical care, transportation, and legal fees for family reunification. AAA’s goal is $50,000.

To donate, visit

Michael Cronin may be contacted at 978-675-2708, or

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