Local social service agency steps up to resettle up to 20 Afghan families


According to a recent article in the Intermountain Jewish News, Denver will soon receive up to 20 Afghan refugee families for resettlement here. Arrangements for these families are being coordinated by JFS (Jewish Family Service), a “nonsectarian, nonprofit human service agency offering comprehensive, integrated, customized services to vulnerable individuals and families.” The organization was founded in 1872 and is presently located in southeast Denver. Its mission is “to enhance the well-being of those in need throughout Colorado by delivering services based on Jewish values.”

JFS will help these Afghan refugees find housing, learn to use the local transportation system, grocery stores, and other necessary skills to live in local communities. They will also help connect the newcomers with other natives of their country who are living here.

JFS was brought in to assist in this effort by HIAS (Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society), “one of nine resettlement organizations that works with the U.S. government.” HIAS was founded in 1881 “to assist Jews fleeing pogroms in Russia and Eastern Europe.” After the Vietnam War, HIAS resettled 3,600 Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians and has continued its resettlement work with all types of refugees from countries including Czechoslovakia, Haiti, Hungary, Iran, Kenya, Morocco, Poland, Romania and states that were formerly part of the Soviet Union. Since its formation, HIAS has helped more than 4.5 million people escape persecution through resettlement.

Anyone who would like to volunteer to help with this effort is asked to contact Nancy Benyamin at nbenyamin@jewishfamilyservice.org.