Tulsa religious organizations preparing for hundreds of refugees

Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma is getting ready for the arrival of 800 Afghan refugees in Tulsa.

A pair of religious organizations in Tulsa is preparing for the arrival of hundreds of refugees from Afghanistan.

Following the Taliban’s advancement through the country, many are making their way to the U.S. and are expected to arrive in the next few weeks.

“They’ve all left Afghanistan. Most are in the process of leaving European or Asian standpoints like Qatar or UAE and they’re coming through the east coast, typically Dulles,” said CEO of Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma, Rev. Dcn. Kevin Sartorius. “And will be held at a U.S. military base to make sure that they’re safe to enter into our country.”

Catholic Charities of Eastern Oklahoma is doing all they can to help get roughly 800 people safely settled in Green Country. 

They’ll be finding them permanent housing and jobs as well as helping them along the path of citizenship.

“These are people who helped put gov who helped our soldiers, and because of that they were targets back home,” said Sartorius. “They’re all applying for a process in which they can be welcomed into the country because if they stayed in their country it would be a really bad situation for them and their families.”

“Once we’ve received them at the airport we will work with them on an individual basis to ensure that any school-age children are enrolled in the appropriate school,” said Genevieve Schmitt, assistant director of refugee resettlement. “We will make sure they have access to any medical care like immunizations.”

At Victory Church, while they won’t be bringing in as many, they are expecting their first family to arrive in Tulsa this week.

They say this is the first time they’ve been involved in rescue efforts from start to finish.

“We have stories of teachers, of a 17-year-old girl that was rescued by a soldier and brought her into the airport,” said Victory Reach director Tati Wilson. “People that were directly connected to Victory through either or Victory missionaries or partners of ours that helped rescue those kids and families and parents and moms and young people.”

Wilson says they’ve got their apartment set up and the four children will be enrolled in their Christian school.

“We love God and we love people, that’s what we say that we do. And knowing that there are people hurting in different places of the world or even in our local country it’s what we’re about,” said Wilson. “We can’t help everyone but if there is a small part that we can play in helping people all over the world, we will do that.”

Catholic Charities say that they expect the families to arrive over the next six weeks, with the program potentially running until March of 2022.

Information to get involved with Catholic Charities refugee efforts can be found at

You can support Victory Church’s Afghan relief efforts by texting the word “RESCUE” and an amount to 28950.

Tulsa religious organizations preparing for hundreds of refugees | ktul