“What can I do?” “How can I help?” Members of the Immigration Reform and Refugee Support Task Team of the South-Central Synod of Wisconsin hear these questions often since the evacuation of people from Afghanistan.
Those who ask want to help welcome those who worked alongside our military and non-government organizations these past 20 years who fled because their lives were in danger. The team held a special meeting Tuesday, September 7, 2021, to discuss our response. The U.S. government makes sure the refugees meet strict criteria to qualify for resettlement. The government does no resettlement as such but sub-contracts that work to nine agencies, including Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Services (LIRS). Because the influx of Afghanis has happened so quickly and in such large numbers, the work has just begun. Resettlement agencies await word regarding how many and when they can begin resettling these new refugees.
In the meantime, people of compassion ask, “What can I do?” “How can I help?”
- As of now, the greatest need is for financial support. Our synod team fully supports monetary donations to LIRS. You can do that online as well as read the latest response from LIRS at https://www.lirs.org/refugee-resettlement/.
- Lutheran Social Services of WI and Upper MI (LSS) partners with LIRS to do the hands-on work of resettlement. LSS anticipates resettling several hundred in Milwaukee in the days ahead. LSS welcomes gifts of money to support their work and provides the latest news on efforts in WI at https://www.lsswis.org/service/refugee-resettlement/.
- Our synod team very likely will not do any hands-on resettlement in our synod. We hear that Jewish Social Services (JSS) will do some in Madison. We know they do solid work in this area and we support their efforts. JSS provides helpful information on their work and how you can help at https://jssmadison.org/services/immigration/refugee/.
- Finally, the Afghanis at Fort McCoy right now receive support and help through Catholic Charities of LaCrosse. They have need of various specific donations to give to the refugees who came with nothing or very little. You can find very helpful information at https://cclse.org/afghanistan-refugee-assistance to learn how you can help.
Since changes happen rapidly, our synod task team will make every effort to share new information as it becomes available in an attempt to answer your questions, “What can I do?” “How can I help?” We thank God for your compassionate hearts seeking to share the love of God with people in need.