‘Their people are desperate’: Jewish Social Services of Madison to help with influx of Afghan refugees

MADISON, Wis. — When the Executive Director of Jewish Social Services Dawn Berney saw the footage of what was happening in Afghanistan, she knew she needed to help.

“It’s horrifying and I want to be able to do and to have our agency do as much as we possibly can for as many people as we possibly can,” Berney said.

Typically her organization helps refugees with a number of services.

“We find them a place to live, we fully furnish it, we make sure there’s a culturally appropriate meal and a fully stocked refrigerator for them, we pick them up from the airport,” she said.

But that usually takes several weeks to several months. In this case, they have several days to prepare, if that.

Right now they’re working on placing any refugees that come to Madison into hotels until they can find a more permanent solution.

Over the past couple months, Jewish Social Services already helped re-home 44 refugees; 14 of them from Afghanistan.

“Those who came up until this point were family members of SIVs. So the SIVs were already here and this was their family because they suspected this was coming,” Berney said.

JSS is currently seeking volunteers and financial donations to help with their efforts. For more on how you can help, click here.