Providing Critical Services to Refugees

Photo by Kira Horvath for CRS

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Home. It’s the place where many of us feel safest. It’s where we sleep, eat and live.

Homeland. It’s where we’re from. For many of us, it’s who we are.

Right now, millions of people are without a home. More than 59 million people were displaced in 2014. We are in the midst of  the worst refugee crisis since World War II. People’s homelands are in crisis. Conflict and uncertainty make it unsafe to remain. They leave behind their homes and the lives they’ve made in their countries. They leave with a backpack and the goal of staying alive.

In the past month, we’ve seen the images of the European migrant crisis. We’ve seen lines of people who are exhausted and weak, walking with no end in sight. We’ve seen children and families covered in blankets and huddled in tents, trying to stay dry during rains. We’ve seen a little boy’s body on a beach.

But we’ve also seen hope. We’ve seen smiles and we’ve seen generosity, thanks to your donations, prayers and solidarity pilgrimages.

Catholic Relief Services and our Caritas partners are providing critical services—including trauma counseling and education for children—in Jordan and Lebanon, where millions of Syrians and Iraqis have fled because of violence and civil war. We are working to make sure children are not part of a “lost generation” because their education has been disrupted.

You are also helping refugees and others impacted by conflict enjoy the simple things in life. In northern Iraq, people are able to go to the grocery store again, thanks to monthly food vouchers. In Jordan, we are providing about 1,800 people with rental assistance through prepaid debit cards as part of a pilot project to streamline assistance and give new freedom to those who use them.

Pope Francis has urged generous support for refugees from Syria and elsewhere. He opened the Vatican’s churches to host refugee families and has urged Europeans to do the same. You can answer the pope’s call to action by becoming a voice for refugees. Here are other ways you can help.

The Catholic bishops of the United States established CRS during World War II. Our mission then was to bring humanitarian relief to war-torn Europe. More than 75 years later, we continue to serve those in greatest need. You are right there by our side, bringing hope to more than 85 million people worldwide, including the refugees in Europe.