***FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE***
July 11, 2019
World Relief Shares Refugee Stories of Hope, Transformation on World Refugee Day 2019
Organization hosts local celebrations nationwide, spearheads peer-to-peer fundraising campaign
BALTIMORE, Md. – In celebration of the courage of refugees, World Relief commemorated World Refugee Day 2019 throughout the month of June with a number of initiatives designed to increase support of this remarkable community. Since 1979, World Relief has played a crucial role in helping more than 400,000 refugees and immigrants settle in America. This past year, the organization assisted 77,000 refugees, asylum seekers and other immigrants in the transition to life in the U.S., including providing legal services, language aid and help finding employment and housing. In addition, World Relief’s programs have improved the lives of over 250,000 refugees and displaced people around the world.
“Despite diminishing support from the federal government and a news cycle that has largely moved on from this ongoing crisis, World Relief has managed to support more than 77,000 refugees, asylum seekers and other vulnerable immigrants integrating into communities throughout the U.S. this year,” said Scott Arbeiter, president of World Relief. “We’re excited that this global commemoration gives us an opportunity to celebrate the stories of these brave men, women and children – but hope that the celebration and advocacy continues to tomorrow, and the next week, and the months and years to come. These initiatives signal a renewal of our commitment to partner with churches and communities to help those striving to rebuild their lives and make this great nation of ours their home.”
Additionally, the organization raised nearly $75,000 through a national fundraising campaign that equipped individuals interested in supporting refugees with the tools they need to raise awareness and support among their personal networks. Spanning the month of June, the campaign came after dramatic cuts to federal government grants given to nonprofits in support of refugee resettlement, which have decreased by over 40% since 2016. The organization also released a short film to accompany the campaign, illustrating the hardships and hopes that characterize a refugee’s journey to the U.S., and an infographic advocating a higher Presidential Determination for Fiscal Year 2020.
On a national scale, World Relief urged federal leaders to raise the cap of admitted refugees to at least 75,000. On World Refugee Day, the organization collected signatures on a multi-faith letter which was sent to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and announced on a press call. They organized the letter to promote international religious freedom as a foreign policy goal and the importance of the U.S. refugee resettlement program as a tool to that end.
On a local scale, World Relief offices across the country held celebrations to honor the achievements and contributions of immigrant and refugee communities. The families and individuals whom World Relief supports shared their stories with their neighbors at events across the U.S. Alongside food, entertainment and activities, local advocates were encouraged and equipped to help support their new neighbors as they acclimate to the U.S.
In California, World Relief Sacramento partnered with Sacramento Republic FC, the other resettlement agencies and the mayor’s office to host a family-friendly soccer tournament on June 8 for over 1300 community members, and on June 20, they hosted a storytelling event. In North Carolina, about 1000 community members and former refugees celebrated the accomplishments of refugees in their neighborhood through the Durham Refugee Day, hosted by World Relief of the Triangle in partnership with Church World Service. In Wisconsin, former refugees and other community members enjoyed a picnic coordinated by World Relief Fox Valley during a local baseball game. And in Washington State, World Relief’s three local offices in the state – in Seattle, the Tri-Cities and Spokane – hosted the fifth annual SEA-TRI-KAN bike race to raise funds to support programming and services for the local refugee community.
“We’re constantly amazed by the generosity of our donors, local church partners and volunteers,” said Tim Breene, CEO of World Relief. “Knowing that our nation was built on the hard work and ingenuity of immigrants, men and women from different parts of the country have come together in support of newcomers from across the globe. We are not only confident that our goals will be met, but we also believe that this, in turn, will show federal leaders that Americans are still committed to welcoming immigrants to our shores.”
While more than 70 million individuals globally have been forced to leave their homes, including over 25 million who have left their countries and are considered refugees, World Refugee Day recognizes a global struggle to provide displaced individuals with the basic rights of safety, dignity and liberty. Those interested in learning more or starting their own funding campaign can visit World Relief’s website. Watch World Relief’s film short here. View the infographic here.
About World Relief:
World Relief is a global Christian humanitarian organization that seeks to overcome violence, poverty and injustice. Through love in action, we bring hope, healing and restoration to millions of the world’s most vulnerable women, men and children through vital and sustainable programs in disaster response, health and child development, economic development and peacebuilding, as well as refugee and immigration services in the U.S. For 75 years, we’ve partnered with churches and communities, currently across more than 20 countries, to provide relief from suffering and help people rebuild their lives.
Learn more at worldrelief.org.