Concord community center prepares to welcome evacuated families from Afghanistan

Congressman Mark DeSaulnier visited an Afghan community center in Concord on Tuesday as they prepare to welcome evacuated families.

They're trying to gather donations, create care packages, and even help with housing.

When she sees what's happening now, Mari Massoumi can't help but remember her own escape from Afghanistan in 1982. She fled by camel, over the mountains, carrying her five small daughters.

"That's why. That's why I'm shaking and I remember all those days. I never forgot," she says.

And so now she's determined to help the next wave of immigrants the ones arriving now into the Bay Area.

Apparently 60 families arrived last week, another 25 so far this week.

"They left the country with nothing but what they're wearing so we plan to provide everything for them," says Sedique Popal, president of the board of directors for the Noor Islamic Cultural Center.

They have 100 volunteers working around the clock. They're looking for everything from clothes and blankets, to available housing.

Tuesday, Congressman Mark DeSaulnier joined them to discuss how to help.

"I think we have a moral obligation that every Afghan that wants to be relocated, that we facilitate that," says DeSaulnier.

The concern for many here are those left behind in Afghanistan, particularly women and children and whether there will be help for them too.

"We want to be the voice of those voiceless people," says Aziza Popal, who is also on the board at the Noor Islamic Cultural Center.

That's especially true for Mari Massoumi. Her five daughters, grown now, are all highly educated; a doctor, lawyer and diplomat among them. She hopes to be an example for the new families coming of what's possible here.

"Of course. Those things make me very strong. No when you fall down you should wake up," says Massoumi.

The community center isn't sure exactly how many families to expect or when to expect them. But they'll continue accepting donations for the foreseeable future.