Press Contact: Jon Pattee
WASHINGTON, D.C., Sept. 5, 2012 – Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) is pleased to announce it has received a $10,000 grant from Wheat Ridge Ministries to expand and develop its Immigration Detention Visitation Ministry.
“We’re grateful to Wheat Ridge Ministries for this grant, which allows LIRS to build on the fast-growing enthusiasm and interest that congregations, community organizations, and faith groups are devoting to immigration detention ministry,” said Megan Bremer, Interim Director of LIRS’s Access to Justice unit.
“LIRS engages the public in the transformational act of visiting immigrants in detention,” said Bremer. “Wheat Ridge’s generous help enables us to keep up the training, support, and grant management activities through which we maximize our partners’ impact and accompany individuals in immigration detention.”
The $10,000 grant expands a funding pool provided by Wheat Ridge Ministries, the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod, and the Presbyterian Church (USA). LIRS has administered $500-$2,000 sub-grants to 26 local ministries (click here for list) to offset visitation costs, fund awareness-building, and meet other needs identified by partners.
“Wheat Ridge Ministries is excited to be able to support LIRS and its Immigration Detention Visitation Ministry,” said Brian Becker, Vice President for Ministry Programs at Wheat Ridge. “We have a long history of partnering with LIRS to work with and through Lutheran congregations developing innovative programs to assist immigrants and refugees. The Immigration Detention Visitation Ministry will go a long way to bring hope and healing to those being held in immigration detention.”
“Wheat Ridge Ministries’ grant has allowed us to provide more visitation for immigrant detainees, and enabled us to recruit and mentor around 30 more volunteer visitors,” said Sally Pillay, Program Supervisor of First Friends/IRATE. “It has also allowed us to partner with St James Lutheran Church in Newark and the Lutheran Church of Elizabeth, which is offering us space for our office.”
“With the grant, we are hoping to build relationships with other Lutheran churches to raise awareness in the community and further increase the number of volunteer visitors that reach this population, which is very vulnerable,” said Pillay, whose non-profit provides visitors and non-legal assistance for immigrants held in detention and works for improved conditions.
Wheat Ridge Ministries provides start-up funding and resources to inspired leaders in congregations and non-profit organizations beginning new and innovative human care initiatives. They focus on improving personal wellness of the body, mind, and spirit. Currently, more than 50 Lutheran-affiliated ministries world-wide are receiving assistance through Wheat Ridge. To learn more, please visit www.wheatridge.org.
LIRS is nationally recognized for its leadership advocating on behalf of refugees, asylum seekers, unaccompanied children, immigrants in detention, families fractured by migration, and other vulnerable populations, and for providing services to migrants through over 60 grassroots legal and social service partners across the United States. To learn more, please visit lirs.org.