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Making room: The details of making a community

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St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church

Stillwater Catholic Charities is at St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church.

Hammering down the details like food and furnishings, Stillwater Catholic Charities and others organizations like Our Daily Bread are preparing for incoming Afghan refugees. 

Oklahoma Catholic Charities are taking in an expected 1,800 refugees, with 1,000 people expected in the Catholic Charities in Oklahoma City and 800 people in Tulsa. The Stillwater Catholic Charities, which is affiliated with the organization's branch in Tulsa, are expected to receive around 106 people later in the fall.

Although finding housing was an issue, Brian O’Brien, Pastor of St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church, said between a partnership with Oklahoma State and a local realtor, O’Brien thinks the organization secured enough housing. 

“We’ve checked that box, tentatively knowing that things can change at any time,” O’Brien said. 

He said the organization can move forward to the next stages to make a home for people. These steps include transportation, food, clothes, translators and later on, employment and education.

Rachael Condley is the Executive Director at Our Daily Bread Food and Resource Center and she said although it is a process and there are still some unknowns, the organization is thrilled to help.

“Obviously with what we do to serve food in our community and serve people who are experiencing food insecurity,” Condley said. “We want to be a big part of the food piece of the puzzle for these people coming in.”

Our Daily Bread is formed from multiple food pantries and offers grocery assistance and resources to address hunger and poverty. Condley said the organization is learning a lot about the diet of the Afghan people.

“We’ve reached out to several people, several stores just talking about what that could look like to provide them with some of the food they’re accustomed to,” Condley said.

Condley said the organization is exploring multiple angles and ideas like the possibility of boxes with staple food ready for people when they arrive.