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For week ended January 30, 2000 Posted 24 Feb 2001
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Summarized by Kent Larsen

LDS Ward to Take in Mormon Refugee Family
(Church Refugee Appeals Rally Aid)
Syracuse NY Post-Standard pg B3 24Jan00 D1
By Maureen Sieh: Staff writer

SYRACUSE, NEW YORK -- An LDS Ward in Syracuse, New York will take in a family of Congolese Tutsi refugees from Rwanda later this month. The 11-member Rutogarama family are Mormons currently in the West African nation Benin. They are expected to arrive in New York February 17th.

On January 16th, Bishop John Rutkowski put up a sign-up sheet for help from members of his ward for the Rutogarama family. First among the families needs is help getting to medical appointments, "We're going to have to transport a family of 11 to doctor's appointments, we're definitely going to need everybody's help on that," said Rutkowski.

By the following Sunday, Rutkowski had 30 volunteers. In addition to help getting to medical appointments, the family will need furniture, help enrolling their children, who range in age from 5 to 21, in school, jobs and a place to live. The agency Catholic Charities is resettling about 50 Tutsis in the area, among 466 Tutsis and Hutus being resettled nationwide. The agency is trying to find the Rutogaramas an apartment that they can afford when welfare runs out in three months. They also want the apartment to be within walking distance of the refugee office and the school district's Family Refugee Program.

The Rutogaramas are the first family that Rutkowski's ward has sponsored. Volunteers are already in place to cook meals for the family, teach them English and help them find jobs. "We definitely look at this as a full commitment with no time line," said Bishop Rutkowski. "It's the culture of our religion that we always continue to support each other in any way, shape or form that's needed."


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