Help protect New Americans and refugues from further poverty, illness, isolation, and homelessness!
COVID-19 has threatened to disrupt the essential services LFS provides to New Americans and refugees, including employment assistance, securing affordable housing, domestic violence response, benefits enrollments, transportation, material assistance, and translation and interpreter services with other agencies. Your support today helps protect them from further poverty, illness, isolation, and homelessness.
Case Management Services
Lutheran Family Services’ Community Services department provides multi-lingual, culturally competent case management services to New Americans from all over the world. These essential services include employment assistance, securing affordable housing, domestic violence response and aftercare, benefit enrollments and renewals, transportation, material assistance, and interpretation of vital services with other agencies. Without this support, New Americans are left to navigate appropriate services and challenges without linguistic or cultural bridges, leaving them vulnerable to further poverty, illness, isolation, and homelessness.
Education for Limited English Proficiency (LEP)
In order to prepare our New American clients for independence and promote self-sufficiency, both economically and socially, Lutheran Family Services’ Community Services Department provides education for those with limited English proficiency (LEP). These classes include financial literacy, English language, cultural orientation, and citizenship. These classes are free to participants and language access is provided. Participants can engage in the classes as many times as necessary to be able to navigate resources effectively and become self-reliant and well informed in the laws, language, and cultures of the U.S. as well as financial planning.
Culturally Appropriate Food Pantry
The International Center of the Heartland (ICH) food pantry serves refugee, asylee, and immigrant households with toiletries, limited household goods, and, most importantly culturally appropriate foods. While Omaha has many pantries doing great work to support those in need, the families served by Community Services at LFS often do not eat the staples of a traditional American pantry. The ICH is uniquely qualified to provide culturally-appropriate food and linguistically-appropriate services to the community. These funds would support the pantry by providing not only common goods like diapers and cooking oil, but also halal meats and other staples of refugee and immigrant diets. While available goods will be purchased at lowest cost, specialized food items will be purchased at local refugee-serving business, many of which are refugee-owned.
"Ted" - A Refugee Resettlement Success Story
We first heard about “Ted” in April 2016, when we got an email from someone identifying himself as a US Marine, saying, “My Iraqi interpreter is hiding with his family in Iraq and will be killed if exposed.” Ben Wormington told us that he felt as if he had left a Marine behind, and he needed to help him get to safety. We got involved toward the end of the 12-year period between Ted’s initial application for an SIV and its eventual approval.
Partnering with Lutheran Family Services and other organizations and agencies, Ben never gave up on working to bring Ted to freedom. Concerned with the safety of Ted and his family and not wanting him to have to wait for the International Office on Migration (IOM) to fund arrange their air travel, Ben raised money to pay for their airfare. When the call came that the family’s Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) had been approved, Ben let LFS know. We contacted Beth El Synagogue to ask if they were willing to sponsor this family, and they said yes, agreeing to furnish the family’s new home and to help them adjust to life in the United States.
On Saturday, March 7th, Ben’s friends and family gathered at the airport, along with LFS staff and volunteers, members of Beth El Synagogue, and members of the media. Welcoming Ted and his family was an amazing experience, full of cheering and waving American flags. Due to the global pandemic, Ted’s early days in the US have not gone as smoothly as planned – some of his documents have been delayed, many offices offering needed services are closed, and his children cannot yet be registered for school – but the family is safe. With the help of many partners, he is happy to be starting his American journey.