Questions about volunteering or donating? Please contact Rev. Josh Graber at westallispastor@gmail.com.

Volunteer & Donation Needs for Afghan Evacuees

4/14/2022 UPDATE – Help LSS Sort Donations for Resettled Afghan Families: We’re partnering with the Wisconsin Council of Churches to help support the efforts of Lutheran Social Services refugee resettlement staff, so they can focus on providing hospitality to the hundreds of Afghan refugees who have resettled in our area. LSS has just moved to a new warehouse near American Family Field, and we’re looking for volunteers to help sort donations after the move. If you’re interested in helping with these efforts and coordinating times to volunteer, please contact Peder Johanson at johanson@wichurches.org. Individuals, families, church groups, and organizations are all welcome to volunteer.

1/10/2021 UPDATE: There is a hold on additional item donations at Fort McCoy.

12/15/2021 UPDATE: Thank you all for your generosity and hospitality so far in welcoming our new Afghan neighbors! Volunteers with experience teaching and leading children’s activities are especially desired in the coming months and housing can be provided on site. If you’re interested in helping, please contact Rev. Josh Graber at westallispastor@gmail.com.

There are many ways to support Afghan Evacuees in Wisconsin. Read on to learn more about how you can help:

Donate Financially

If you feel called to donate financially, that can be an efficient and effective way to show support to address needs.

  • You can support those at Fort McCoy by offering a designated gift to Catholic Charities of La Crosse here.
  • You can support the resettlement process in Wisconsin through a donation to Lutheran Social Services of Wisconsin and Upper Michigan:
    • Online: https://www.lsswis.org/donate/
    • Mail: Mail checks made payable to “Lutheran Social Services – Refugee” to P.O. Box 88868, Milwaukee, WI, 53288.
    • Mobile phone: Text LSSREFUGEE to 41444.
  • The Wisconsin Council of Churches is raising donations for their Afghan response including the expansion of educational offerings and funding a position to help recruit and coordinate volunteers in the effort to support and resettle Afghan Evacuees. To find out more about their efforts click here. To donate to this cause click here.
  • Click here to directly purchase winter clothing items for those on base at Fort McCoy through Team Rubicon. All items should be new or lightly used, clean and ready to disperse.

Volunteer in the Milwaukee Area

If you are feeling called to volunteer to support resettlement in the Milwaukee Area (LSS):

  1. Co-sponsor Afghan Evacuees in the Milwaukee Area: Plese click here for more information and answers to questions about co-sponsoring, resettlement and donations that are sought. Encourage your congregations, organizations, and communities to co-sponsor refugees locally. Churches and organizations outside of the resettlement area in Milwaukee can also support and help co-sponsor Afghan evacuees. Please contact LSS directly at church.relations@lsswis.org for more information or to express interest in becoming a co-sponsor. LSS also offers regular weekly information calls about how to support the evacuees and how to help your congregation or organization explore co-sponsoring evacuees.
  2. Contact LSS at church.relations@lsswis.org to find out how and where you can volunteer:
    • LSS Refugee Resettlement is looking for volunteers and cleaning professionals to help prepare apartments and houses for Afghan families and individuals being resettled in the Milwaukee Area. If you or your church can volunteer some time to clean or know cleaning professionals who could take on some extra hours please contact church.relations@lsswis.org.
    • Additional volunteer options include organizing and sorting donations near their Bay View office, offering to be drivers for families and volunteers, and working with other areas of their services (like helping with homework and after school programs) to relieve pressure on staff.

You can also volunteer to support efforts in other ways by contacting Rev. Josh Graber at westallispastor@gmail.com:

  • Making phone calls and sending emails, to congregations, camps, youth programs, and others inviting them to participate
  • Doing simple administration tasks from home
  • Moving donations in the Milwaukee Area

Volunteer at Fort McCoy

If you are feeling called to volunteer to support those at Fort McCoy (Catholic Charities of La Crosse):

  1. Volunteers are often needed to sort donated materials at the Armory in Sparta, WI, with no background check required. Call 715-390-0452 from 9 am – 5 pm on weekdays if you’re interested in learning more.
  2. Catholic Charities of Milwaukee has offered to help ELCA and other volunteers from Milwaukee get set up for volunteering at Fort McCoy, including processing background checks, speeding up the process to get base clearance, and arranging housing on base for multiple day volunteering. Catholic Charities of Milwaukee also takes week-long volunteers to Fort McCoy once a week after they process background checks and receive base clearance. For more information, please contact The Parish Relations Coordinator at 414-769-3543.
  3. If you are feeling called to volunteer at Fort McCoy, please read the information here. Regularly scheduled and repeat volunteers, especially two-week and week-long volunteering is preferable. Volunteering as a group is also preferred, but committed individuals can also volunteer. If you are serious about volunteering at Fort McCoy, please fill out an application here with Catholic Charities of La Crosse.In order to work on base, you will need to pass a background check and get military clearance to be on base. Once you have base access, you will then have access to a scheduling tool to make future volunteer commitments.Volunteer options are available Monday through Saturday. Currently very few volunteers are coming on Saturdays, so you or your group can consider that weekend option as well. Here are some of the skilled volunteers that we would like to identify and recruit:
    • HIGH PRIORITY: Teachers (especially preschool, arts and crafts, middle school and younger, ESL and English) – especially those who can stay at Fort McCoy for a week or more
    • Those who speak Pashto and Dari
    • Refugee and immigrant resettlement experience
    • Sewing and fabric experience
    • Phy ed and activity coordinators
    • Nursery, youth and family, sunday school and VBS staff, teachers and volunteers
    • Camp and retreat center experience
    • Administration experience (especially data collection and school administration)
    • Community organizers and those with project management experience
    • Social work and counseling experience
    • Librarians
    • Technology and computer science experience
    • Legal professionals
    • Those with knowledge of driving rules and transportation system, insurance system, civics, shopping

Donate Items and Volunteer: Resettlement Kits with LSS

This is a growing need in resettlement areas like Milwaukee as we prepare for the Long Welcome of these evacuees (click here for more information).

Email Sarah Halstead at church.relations@lsswis.org if you would like to make an in-kind or other offering to these kits:

  • Pre-assembled kits – see the LSS Home Supply Listfor details and ideas.  Examples below:
    • Hygiene (e.g., soap, shampoo, toothpaste, and other personal care items).
    • Household (e.g., pots, pans, dish towels)
    • Cleaning (e.g., dish soap, laundry detergent, sponges)
  • Food deliveries from ethnic restaurants, grocery shopping assistance, and grocery/gift card donations.
  • Socks and underwear for men, women and children in all sizes. Please note: We are unable to accept any other clothing at this time.

Volunteering: Email church.relations@lsswis.org with your name, contact information and offering description:

  • Co-sponsor a family for 6-12 months (for churches and other groups). Individuals can also participate by joining a co-sponsor group. Please see this FAQ Sheet for details about what co-sponsoring entails.
  • Transportation to appointments, shopping, etc.
  • Recreation, child care and respite for parents or single parents.
  • Community outings.

Sorting donations for distribution may also be a need. Please let church relations know if you are interested.

LOCAL DONATION INSTRUCTIONS:

Material donations to Fort McCoy can also be dropped off at the following Milwaukee area locations:

  • Central Milwaukee: First Lutheran Church (7400 W Lapham Street, West Allis). Please call 414-476-4664 to coordinate a drop off time or delivery. Drop off hours: 8:30 am – 1 pm or by appointment.
  • Northeast Milwaukee suburbs: Holy Cross Lutheran (W156N8131 Pilgrim Road, Menomonee Falls). Phone: 262-251-2740. Drop off hours: 9 am – 3 pm on Tuesday through Thursday, and 9 am – 12 pm on Friday.
  • West central Milwaukee suburbs: Mt. Zion (12012 W North Avenue, Wauwatosa). Phone: 414-258-0456. Drop off hours: 10 am – 3 pm or by appointment.

Please label your donation with the #5. If you are also donating luggage, backpacks, reusable plastic boxes or tubs, or cloth bags feel free to put donations in those bags so they can be used by the donation center and Afghan evacuees.

If your organizaton would like to volunteer to be a donation site or would be able to pick-up or deliver donations, please contact Rev. Josh Graber at westallispastor@gmail.com.

LSS: Co-Sponsors and Housing Needed

LSS urgently needs Co-Sponsors for Afghan evacuees! If your congregation is interested in more information about long-term commitments to welcoming newly arriving refugees, please contact church.relations@lsswis.org ASAP to get registered for co-sponsorship training Tuesdays at 6:30pm.
Also needed is affordable, independent housing with access to public transportation. Refugees receive financial assistance to pay rent and utilities until they are employed and able to fulfil financial obligations of the lease on their own. If you have something to offer, please contact church.relations@lsswis.org to share more details.
More information on other needs can be found here.

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