Wondering how to get involved in helping refugees? These resources can help you and your family find opportunities to lift and serve within your community.
Five Ways to Get Started:
- Get informed about the needs in your community
- Volunteer with an organization you admire
- Make a new friend
- Do something you enjoy with someone new
- Invite someone to your family night
Seven Challenges Refugees Face:
- Learning a new language
- Building a new support network of friends
- Understanding different cultural customs and practices
- Providing the appropriate academic support for their children
- Accessing basic services, such as medical care
- Finding transportation
- Securing employment
Want more ideas on helping refugees?
Check out our blog.
Local Organizations That Might Need Volunteers:
- Government resettlement agencies
- Religious places of worship
- Interfaith groups
- Low-income health clinics
- Local nonprofits
- Community centers
In the United States, members can find local service opportunities at 211.org or JustServe.org to learn about opportunities to serve refugees in their communities. Outside the United States, leaders can contact their area welfare manager for help in identifying trusted organizations in their area.
Five Questions to Ask When Identifying Potential Organizations:
- Whom do you help?
- How are you helping them?
- What needs would you like to address but aren’t able to?
- Beyond financial contributions, how can I help?
- How do the services you offer help people to eventually meet their own needs?
As the worldwide refugee crisis has worsened in recent years, LDS Charities, the humanitarian arm of the Church, has responded by developing a three-pronged approach for helping refugees: immediate relief, long-term aid, and resettlement support.
LDS Charities works with many trusted partners—both local and global—who support refugees, including:
- Adventist Development and Relief Agency (ADRA)
- Catholic Relief Services (CRS)
- International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC)
- International Medical Corps (IMC)
- International Rescue Committee (IRC)
- United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)
- United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR)
- World Relief
LDS Charities also works with refugee resettlement agencies such as the ones on this list.
In addition to helping refugees, LDS Charities provides aid with disaster relief, clean water and sanitation, wheelchairs, maternal and newborn care, immunization campaigns, vision care, and family gardening. Learn more about the Church’s global humanitarian work.
“One of the fundamental principles of the restored gospel of Jesus Christ is to ‘impart of your substance to the poor, every man according to that which he hath, . . . administering to their relief, both spiritually and temporally, according to their wants’ (Mosiah 4:26). . . .
“. . . ‘I Was a Stranger’ gives sisters a way to serve as individuals, in families, and in organizations and to offer friendship, mentoring, and other Christlike service to the refugees in our midst. . . .
“Sisters may participate in this effort when time and circumstances allow, making sure that no one is expected to ‘run faster than [she] has strength’ and that all ‘things are done in wisdom and order’ (Mosiah 4:27).”
Thomas S. Monson, “Love—the Essence of the Gospel,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 91-94
Henry B. Eyring, “The Caregiver,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2012, 121-24
Dieter F. Uchtdorf, “You Are My Hands,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2010, 68-75
“The relief effort ‘I Was a Stranger’ focuses on serving refugees in our local neighborhoods and communities. It is just one of many ways women, young women, and girls in Relief Society, Young Women, and Primary can lift and bless those in need (see Matthew 25:35; Leviticus 19:34).”
Linda K. Burton, “I Was a Stranger,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2016
Bonnie L. Oscarson, “Sisterhood: Oh, How We Need Each Other,” Ensign or Liahona, May 2014, 119-21
Rosemary M. Wixom, “Discovering the Divinity Within,” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2015, 6-8
As you prayerfully seek the guidance of the Spirit, you will be guided to opportunities to serve according to your individual and family circumstances.
Look around your neighborhood, school, workplace, and other places you visit often for those who might need your help and your love. Opportunities to effectively assist refugees are also often available in local civic, community, or church organizations.
As you discover ways to make a difference in your area, share your experiences and help inspire others to get involved.
“We are surrounded by those in need of our attention, our encouragement, our support, our comfort, our kindness. . . . We are the Lord’s hands here upon the earth, with the mandate to serve and to lift His children. He is dependent upon each of us.”
Thomas S. Monson, “What Have I Done for Someone Today?” Ensign or Liahona, Nov. 2009, 86
Share My Experience (via email or social media)
Check out our video library to see clips of how members are serving refugees.
See What Others Are Doing to Help Refugees
When you share your experiences on social media using #IWasAStranger, they may show up below. You can also share your experiences by emailing IWasAStranger@ldschurch.org.