November 6, 2015

How to help victims of refugee crises

Compiled by Natalie Hoefer

Catholic Relief Services graphicAccording to Michele Schrougham, supervisor of resettlement services for the archdiocesan Refugee and Immigrant Services, “We have gotten sporadic refugees from Syria, and we look for that to increase.”

Most of the refugees the archdiocese has helped resettle come from Burma, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Iraq, Nepal, Somalia and Sudan, said Schrougham.

Members of the Archdiocese of Indianapolis can help those refugees, as well as the refugees overseas, in a number of ways.

To help refugees who are resettled within central and southern Indiana:

Volunteer with the archdiocesan Refugee and Immigrant Services by teaching English as a second language, instructing citizenship classes, mentoring a refugee, tutoring, setting up apartments, creating welcome cards or spiritually adopting a refugee

Donate furniture and household items.

For more information on how to get involved with Refugee and Immigrant Services, contact archdiocesan director of refugee services Heidi Smith at, 317-236-1518 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1518.

To help refugees overseas:

  • Learn more about Catholic Relief Services (CRS) at
  • Receive e-mails on CRS activities by e-mail:
  • Call or e-mail Congress, find your representatives’ contact information, and learn some tips on what to say when addressing them about humanitarian assistance for refugees:
  • Send a pre-written message to President Barack Obama or your specific senators and representatives to help Syrian refugees:
  • Sign up for action alerts from Catholics Confront Global Poverty, the humanitarian advocacy arm of CRS and the USCCB at
  • Sign up to be a Global Solidarity Ambassador for your parish or Catholic school, helping those within your family and communities better understand the Catholic Church’s humanitarian work around the world. Contact Theresa Chamblee, archdiocesan director of CRS and Catholic Campaign for Human Development, at, 317-236-1404 or 800-382-9836, ext. 1404.
  • Participate in the CRS Lenten Faith in Action Rice Bowl Program, with 25 percent of all proceeds staying within the Archdiocese of Indianapolis to assist with local food and poverty eradication initiatives: †


Related story: Assisting millions of Syrian and Iraqi refugees is a way of expressing faith, CRS director says

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