By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Minnesotans of Afghan descent are hoping their friends and relatives who helped allied forces will safely get to the U.S.

Some Afghan refugees are expected to resettle close to, or in, Minnesota.

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What began as Crescent Moon Bakery 20 years ago is now known as Football Pizza.

The owner, Meerwais Azizi, came here as a refugee 34 years ago.

“I came to this state when I was 14 years old,” said Azizi.

Watching the events unfold in his home country has him concerned. He wants to help those who are in the same situation his family was in when they escaped Afghanistan back in the 1980s when Russian forces invaded.

“We would love to help them out. They are the people of our country and they are also human beings,” Azizi said.

Azizi wants to help with jobs and offer mentorship to any Afghan resettling in or near the Twin Cities.

Tabasum Sadozai also knows the struggle Afghan refugees wanting to resettle will face.

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“My parents were refugees and I knew what it was like growing up poor. They had to work for everything. Basically, we have the American dream, we have a restaurant here,” Sadozai said.

Ariana Bistro gives Minnesotans a taste of Afghanistan.

This family-owned business has started a GoFundMe to give people what they need to survive when they reach the U.S.

“We want to give that same opportunity to refugees that come here and share their culture,” Sadozai said.

Resettlement agency Arrive Ministries is looking for landlords.

“When the state department selects a family to be resettled here in Minnesota and taps Arrive Ministries, one of the key things we need to do is find safe, sanitary, affordable housing that is on a bus line, and sometimes we get all of 24-hour notice,” said Mike Bergman.

Arrive is also seeking host families who can let refugees stay from two days to two weeks, until permanent housing is found.

According to the Minnesota Department of Human Services, Special Immigrant Visas have been granted to 35 refugees and 65 more are expected by September.

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Arrive Ministries is looking for volunteers to help when they get here. Click here if you’d like to help.

Reg Chapman