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Multi-Faith Neighbors Network Helping Afghan Evacuees Settle In Greater Philadelphia Region

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) -- Around 10,000 Afghan refugees have come through Philadelphia International Airport. Where they will all eventually live is up in the air.

As many Afghan evacuees look to resettle into the region, many are entering a country and a culture they know nothing about with little more than the clothes on their backs.

A multi-faith initiative is bringing the Christian, Jewish and Muslim communities together to help them with basic necessities.

The City of Philadelphia has so far welcomed as many as 10,000 Afghan evacuees through Philadelphia International Airport with 973 just arriving on three separate flights on Tuesday.

"There's a real significant need with our Afghan neighbors that are being settled here," Pastor Kevin Brown said.

Brown, of the Perfecting Church in Sewell, New Jersey, is part of the Multi-Faith Neighbors Network representing the greater Philadelphia region.

Brown is working alongside Imam Idrus Abul Zahir's mosque in West Oak Lane and Rodeph Shalom Synagogue in Center City, collecting supplies for evacuees.

"We'll be collecting these shoeboxes for men, women and children on Friday, Saturday and Sunday," Brown said, "which are each of our holy days."

"Just toothpaste, toothbrushes, sanitary napkins, a brush, a comb, just everyday things that people need," Idris said.

The supplies will be distributed at each church on their respective holy days this weekend, a weekend that commemorates the 20th anniversary of 9/11.

"Our hope is that we can also bring together our children using technology and just have our kids from the three faith backgrounds talk about what 9/11 meant to them or what it means to them to be able to serve their neighbors," Brown said.

Three congregations of faith are joining together for a mission that transcends religious differences.

"It's part of our mission, just to be supportive of community, and there's no one more in need than those that are coming from their homes and in most cases have just what's on their back," Idris said.

To date, faith leaders tell CBS3 as many as 2,500 Afghan evacuees have resettled in the Philadelphia region with many in South Jersey as well.

All three congregations are accepting supplies from now through 9/11 to be distributed directly to those families in need in the area.

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