Church World Service to Launch New Office in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania to Welcome Refugee, Afghan Evacuees

November 4, 2021

Harrisburg, PA—Church World Service today announced the launch of a new office in Harrisburg to aid arriving refugees as they join the community as new neighbors and coworkers. The office, an extension of the long-standing Lancaster office, will help respond to the worst displacement crisis in history and aims to aid arriving refugee families as they build lives in safety in the United States. 

“We have seen a huge outpouring of support from communities from coast to coast who want to lend a hand to Afghan families and other refugees and help them get a great start in their new homes. We are thrilled to be expanding our programs to ten new locations to do just that, and we invite people from all walks of life to partner with us to welcome their new neighbors,” said CWS Senior Vice President Erol Kekic

“We are excited to expand our refugee resettlement programming to the Harrisburg area. South central Pennsylvania is already home to diverse communities from around the world. As one of nine resettlement agencies that work across the United States, CWS is excited to be able to expand our programming here. In partnership with this great community, more new neighbors will benefit from refugee resettlement’s life-saving opportunities,” said Valentina Ross, CWS Lancaster Office Director.  

“We are excited to welcome Church World Service into our region as they help refugees from Afghanistan and all over the world settle into Harrisburg. We are looking forward to welcoming these families as they start their lives in our region and stand ready to make connections with potential careers and employers,” said Ryan Unger, President and CEO of Harrisburg Regional Chamber and CREDC. “We know that many people view employment as a sense of stability and security, and we want to help our new community members achieve that.”

“There’s a saying, ‘Only the wearer knows where the shoe pinches.’ Most of us would never experience what it is like to be a refugee. Neither would we understand the pain and hurt from forcibly leaving the familiar behind; and stepping into the unknown. Too many questions and uncertainties mingled in fear,” said Christine Titih, founder and President of Oaks of Central PA, and CEO of CT Home Care Services. “Though we can never feel the hurt from the shoe, we can do our part to lessen it.  And that’s what CWS has done in opening an office in Harrisburg. Beyond setting the logistics for welcoming refugees, CWS has gone a step further to build community connections in the Greater Harrisburg area, which is a necessity to ensure that  refugees integrate their various communities with the help of a solid support system.” 

The new Harrisburg office will offer newly arrived refugees, from Afghanistan and beyond, comprehensive case management and employment services aimed at building a foundation for long-term self-sufficiency and success in the United States. Services will include basic needs support, case management, cultural orientation, health access assistance, and job preparation and placement help. 

As one of the nine national U.S. resettlement agencies, CWS offices partner with local community organizations, volunteers, and congregations to help refugees resettle and become productive members of their new communities. CWS directly administers nine local offices—now including Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Winchester, Virginia—and contracts with seven new affiliates, totalling 21 in all. 

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