Appeal update: European refugee crisis

October 8, 2015

Appeal Code:  76-6640
Appeal amount:  $200,000
Funding Received to date: $71,000

This is an update to our September 11 appeal.


Hundreds of thousands of refugees and migrants are continuing to make their way towards and into the European Union. As winter approaches, the need for food, water, shelter and other services in the countries through which they are passing will increase.

One current route families are taking is overland through Turkey, Greece, Macedonia, Serbia and into Croatia. In Serbia, approximately 2,000 people are officially arriving and registering with local authorities each day, but the actual number is likely far higher. The number of registered asylum seekers is currently more than 135,000 with estimates that the actual number of refugees is 50 percent more at the least.

It is expected that a number of refugees will prolong their stay in Serbia during winter but it is impossible to predict the exact number and where they will seek shelter.


During the winter, CWS will provide emergency winter packages in Presevo and Kanjiza containing waterproof emergency blankets, winter sneakers and thermal socks, jackets and thermal or disposable underpants. (The latter are a great need for most of the refugees but many are too uncomfortable to voice it). CWS will also deliver custom packages for mothers with children.

In Kanjiza, CWS is providing shelter to refugees in cooperation with the Serbian Red Cross. With ELCA’s support, CWS is distributing food to migrants and refugees, including snacks to school and pre-school children, in Presevo.

CWS will monitor the situation in other refugee/migrant entry points in Serbia (such as Zajecar and Dimitrovgrad) and will be ready to respond to rising needs of winter emergency shelter, packages and food. Priority will be given in the poorest regions of Serbia, already economically vulnerable before the crisis.


Contributions to support CWS emergency response efforts may be sent to your denomination or to Church World Service, P.O. Box 968, Elkhart, IN 46515 (designate 76-6640, European Refugee Crisis). Donations for this appeal can also be made online.

The CWS Immigration and Refugee Program has a network of affiliate offices that are located throughout the United States. These offices work hand-in-hand with local communities, churches, organizations and individuals to provide a welcoming and safe home for refugees. Get connected to a local office to see how you can sponsor refugees in your community and volunteer or partner with our local offices.

Additional resources can be found at

CWS is a member of the ACT Alliance, a global coalition of churches and agencies engaged in development, humanitarian assistance and advocacy.