SIVs & Allies Program Update June 2023


Dear SIVs and Allies Community and Supporters! 

Khalil Arab, Combined Arms - SIVs and Allies Program Manager here!

We have made incredible progress in the first half of 2023. I wanted to take a moment to thank each and every one of you for supporting our work, the SIVs & Allies Program, and the community in general. 

2023 was and continues to be a difficult year for our SIVs & Allies. A great number of our Afghan Allies are stuck in Afghanistan. Meanwhile, thousands of our allies in the United States are still struggling, because they are “stuck in legal limbo” and their future is uncertain. The good news is that recently a two-year humanitarian parole extension was passed for Afghans waiting for legal pathways to citizenship. Increased assimilation efforts for SIVs & Allies are one of the Combined Arms Legislative priorities and we are honored to lead in this work. 

We cannot do this work without your support. Donate today to support our ability to flex to the urgent and emerging needs of our SIVs & Allies.

Thank you!  - Khalil 



Key Articles / News Features

2023 Program Highlights: 

  • 240 SIVs & Allies registered in Combined Arms Portal
  • 540 Connections made to resources 
  • 1860 People served
  • 2 mobile food pantries serving 1600 individuals in Houston & Austin
  • 70 laptops distributed 
  • 500 Volunteer hours 
  • 150 people attended a social event at lake 

SIVs & Allies Utilizing Combined Arms Portal

The combined Arms portal is accessible to our SIVs & Allies and they are able to fully utilize it to their advantage. They can create profiles and search for available resources and get connected to those available resources. 

Food (In)security and Mobile Food Pantry

In 2022 and 2023 alike, Food insecurity was one of the biggest challenges for Veterans and SIVs & Allies alike. Demand for food was at the top of the list of essential services for our SIVs & Allies. As part of our continued effort to tackle food insecurity, we partnered with the Houston Food Bank as well Central Texas Food Bank and provided nutritious food packages through 2 emergency mobile food pantries for over 1600 SIVs & Allies in Houston and Austin.


Laptop Distribution 

With the arrival of over 11000 Afghan Allies in Texas, there is an ever-growing demand for Computers and other electronic devices. We continue our effort to provide access to technologies to our Afghan Allies by partnering with Corporate entities and repurposing devices donated by those corporate partners. We issued over 70 laptop devices to our Afghan newcomers and we are scheduled to get another large shipment of laptops in order to distribute them among our Afghan Allies.  


Operation Santa

Combined Arms - SIVs & Allies Program organized the first Op Santa for our SIVs & Allies in 2022. We managed to purchase and provide gifts and toys for over 210 kids. Over 50 families (around 300 people) joined us in our Operation Santa in Houston and Austin and enjoyed a day of festivity with their families.   



Social Events, Social Gatherings 

Quarterly social events are one of the main pillars of the SIVs & Allies Program. Social gatherings provide SIVs & Allies with a chance to network and build relationships. 

  • Social gatherings provide families with an opportunity to unwind and get to know each, 
  • They help adults with their networking effort and enhance relationship-building exercises
  • Provides spouses and children with much-needed exposure to American society.
  • In 2023 we organized 3 social events that brought together more than 250 people. The three events included a Basketball tryout, a Soccer Tryout, and an outdoor picnic on a lakeside house. 


Advocacy, Community Outreach, Media Engagement

PBS Special “Lidia Celebrates America” Show Premiered May 3, 2023

Houston Public Media - In-Depth Podcast: On Jun 1, 2023, Houston Public Media aired a piece on the “second anniversary of the Fall of Kabul”, checking on the status of the Afghan evacuees as they are getting closer to the end of their parole.

Live Interview with Lidia Bastianich on Town Square with Ernie Manouse: Jun 7, 2023 Live interview with Lidia Bastianich on the NPR Houston Public Media Radio podcast provided another opportunity for Khalil to once again showcase his mission with Combined Arms. 

World Refugee Day Video: Khalil traveled to Washington D.C. on June 9, 2023 to appear in a World Refugee Day video that is produced by Refugee Storyteller Collective. The video aims to celebrate World Refugee Day by highlighting common grounds between refugees and the society that hosts them. Watch the video here!

State Department and Afghan Evac Coalition Ceremony: On Jun 12, 2023 Khalil Arab was invited by the State Department to attend an MOU signing ceremony. 

The event was celebrating the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the Coordinator for Afghan Relocation Efforts (CARE) team and the Afghan Evac Coalition renewing their continued partnership.


SIVs & Allies Program Expansion

Austin: SIVs & Allies Program has been present in Austin Texas since April 2022. We formed a group of volunteers, consisting of veterans and SIV recipients, and we started assisting our new Afghan neighbors in Austin Texas. Last year we managed to assist over 1200 SIVs & Allies in Austin.   

North Texas:  I am pleased to inform you that we are currently developing opportunities for expansion in North Texas. We are hoping to collaborate with local resettlement agencies and other non-profit organizations to provide smooth resettlement and successful integration of our SIVs & Allies into U.S. society. Please reach out to if you think you can help. 

Upcoming Events 

Guidance for Allies Still In Afghanistan: 

Currently, Combined Arms cannot provide any kind of direct support to those still in Afghanistan. Please review these resources below if you or someone you know is still there.

2023 Metrics: First Half 

  • 1860+ newly arrived SIVs & Alles were served since the beginning of 2023 in Texas
  • 2 emergency food distribution events serving 1600+ people in Houston and Austin
  • 3 social events brought together over 50 families totaling 265+ people   
  • 540 Connections were made, and 265 Families and/or individuals were connected to at least one or more available resources. 
  • 265 Unique new contacts were made on our portal, which means 265 families and individuals created a profile on Combined Arms Portal. 
  • 125 Volunteers dedicated more than 500 hours of their time to support the SIVs & Allies Program. 
  • Laptop Distribution events, 70+ Laptops were provided to over 60 SIVs & Allies families and individuals 
  • Basic household goods provided to 100+ SIV Families

Special thanks to John J Fleming and Triton Claim Management for their continued support of our program.  Another special thank you goes to Wendy Rentschler and BMC Software for their support of the SIVs & Allies Program, and last but not least, thanks to our online donors, the full-time staff of Combined Arms, and all of our volunteers. We could not accomplish our mission without you!

Be sure to follow us on Facebook and other social media by visiting To donate to our program, please visit our webpage. If you would like to have an announcement included in this newsletter, please send all details to