LSS on WTMJ: Watching, Preparing for Ukraine Refugees

West Allis, WI – As Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan (LSS) resettled around 200 Afghan evacuees in the past six months, many now wonder about Ukraine refugees coming to the United States. With Russia invading its neighboring country, Ukrainians have fled and could seek assistance in America. The LSS Refugee Resettlement team is always collecting supplies, speaking with volunteers and preparing for the next wave of refugees – whenever that may happen.

“I think it’s important for people to understand that refugee resettlement isn’t an immediate response to crisis,” Mary Flynn told AM620 WTMJ radio in this recent interview. “Obviously for the Ukrainians, the first choice would be for people to return home.”

You can hear the whole interview below with Flynn, Program Manager for the LSS Refugee Resettlement program:

Journal Sentinel Offers Insight Into LSS’ Emotional Support of Afghan Refugees

West Allis, WI – For the refugee resettlement team at Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan (LSS), the mission goes beyond supplying housing, supplies and resources. As the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel shared recently, Afghan refugees seek relief from trauma, stress and uncertainty. Mary Flynn, Manager for the LSS Refugee Resettlement Program, described an emotional exchange with one refugee.

“She took me by the hand and she pulled me close, and she gave me just the deepest, strongest, most emotional hug.”

To help supply Afghan evacuees with essential needs and basic support, LSS enlists local groups as co-sponsors. These groups, often connected with churches of various denominations, assist in finding and furnishing housing, driving refugees to appointments, and helping cover a variety of costs during their transition and resettlement period.

“It absolutely is a tremendous help,” Flynn said. “We could not have done the work that we’ve done in the past few months without these co-sponsor groups,” Flynn said.

To read the full story in the Journal Sentinel, click on the image below:

Refugee meal

PBS Wisconsin: LSS Part of Providing Refugees “all the things they need”

West Allis, WI – Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin & Upper Michigan (LSS) continues to welcome in Afghan and other refugees into Wisconsin to provide housing and additional support. In this PBS Wisconsin TV story, Sher Khan, who evacuated from Kabul with his wife and children in 2021 had this to say:

“Bringing this amount of people from one side of the world to the other side of the world and giving them all they things they need, that is just beyond my imagination. I mean, sometimes I feel like I’m dreaming. Whatever we receive here, we are thankful for.”

While LSS has been able to house over around 150 refugees in the past few months, affordable housing and financial support to get these families on their feet continue to be the biggest hurdles. LSS and the other agencies are grateful for the help received from the local communities throughout the state.

To hear more from Sher Khan, LSS Refugee Program Manager Mary Flynn, and more, please watch the original PBS Wisconsin TV news story below: