Catholic Community Services pleads for help for Ukrainian refugees resettling in Utah
Friday, Jul. 29, 2022
By Linda Petersen
SALT LAKE CITY — As the whole world has watched, millions of lives in Ukraine have been torn apart by war over the last few months. Many Utahns have donated to fundraising efforts to help assuage the suffering, but Catholic Community Services is asking Utahns to do more.
“As a Catholic organization, we always are at the forefront in helping people that are coming from war-torn countries, from countries where their homes have been destroyed and they don’t have anywhere else to go,” said Aden Batar, director of CCS’ Migration and Refugee Services.
About 300 Ukrainians will be coming to Utah under the federal government’s Uniting for Ukraine program, and CCS plans to provide assistance to these people. However, the help of the Catholic community is needed to be able to do so, Batar said.
The organization has already expended many of its resources in helping Afghan refugees resettle here last year and this year, so CCS is asking the community to help them help these new families in need. Monetary donations, which can be given at https://www.ccsutah.org/donate, will help CCS provide needed services for those fleeing the war in Ukraine. CCS has also listed needed items on its Amazon wish list at https://smile.amazon.com/hz/charitylist/ls/1ZGOUMJO8EQF2/ref=smi_cl_lol_lls1_ls1. High-priority items include dish soap, laundry detergent, bleach, hangers, pans, extension cords, batteries, Band-Aids and nail clippers.
“We’re opening our doors to have the Ukrainians come here because they’re going to need housing, they’re going to need furnishings, they’re going to need all kinds of household items,” Batar said.
The donations will be used for all of those purposes, along with paying for Ukrainian interpreters.
CCS is also asking sponsors to bring the Ukrainian families into the agency, where they can enroll them in the resettlement program and help them in filing paperwork for employment and social security, apply for food stamps and Medicaid and connect with state programs. The agency can also provide health screenings and access to youth programs for the refugees.
“We don’t know when they are coming to Utah; they will be living with their sponsors when they first arrive,” Batar said. “If sponsors do not bring them, CCS has no way to know who is here.”
CCS has already assisted about 30 refugees from Ukraine, but they are anxious to help as many as is needed, and many more Ukrainians are waiting for sponsors, Batar said. He encourages all Utah Catholics who have the financial ability to do so to visit https://www.uscis.gov/ukraine and look into sponsoring these individuals.
“I think this is the right thing to do by our community getting involved and sponsoring the Ukrainians,” he said. “Millions of them are in the neighboring countries and don’t have any place to go. Their homes have been destroyed. Some of them, their families have been killed or separated. These individual families need to rebuild their lives; they need a safe place to go. I think in Utah we have the will to do this, so that’s why we’re encouraging our community to sponsor as many Ukrainians as possible.”
For information on CCS’ Migration and Refugee Services department and how to help, visit www.ccsutah.org. If you are sponsoring a Ukrainian and need assistance, contact CCS at 801-977-9119.
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