Volunteers Worry Incoming Refugees Could Stretch Them Thin

Foster’s Online, Dover (New Hampshire), June 25, 2007

More than 130 refugees are expected to arrive in Concord this year, but many of the people who help them are asking if the new neighbors might be overwhelming.

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Lutheran Social Services, a federal contractor to relocate refugees to the United States, is expected to place 132 people in the Concord area through October. Already, 26 Burundian refugees have arrived.

“If we get the 80 Burundians, I don’t know who is going to be here to help them, because everybody is running their legs off,” said Sue O’Connor, another volunteer.

Lutheran Social Services provides support to the refugees for about six months. After that, local volunteers in Concord, Manchester and Laconia step in to help new residents translate mail, pay bills, navigate social service programs and get around.

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