Kentucky Refugee Ministries sees outpouring of support

Organization says they're touched by community support
Posted at 2:40 PM, Jul 12, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-12 18:19:10-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Employees and volunteers with Kentucky Refugee Ministries say that they're touched by the influx of donations they have received.

They posted on Facebook about their dwindling supply of hygiene items. Overnight, the supply room was restocked. They say it's another example of the community's generosity that makes refugee resettlement a little smoother.

"The response of this community is just always so warm and overwhelming. It was shared hundreds of times. People started shipping us soap and stopping by the office, it's been a really helpful response," said KRM Lexington Director Mary Cobb.

Cobb tells LEX 18 that she is troubled by the current political climate, and she notices a growing anti-immigrant sentiment. The refugee admissions ceiling is at an all-time low, but she says she doesn't worry about Lexington.

"There's just so much warmth, people don't really aim that at us. People say, 'How can I volunteer, how can I help? Where can I get a refugee's welcome t-shirt to wear?'" Cobbs said.

The organization is expecting to work with 250 clients this year, refugees forced to flee their countries because of persecution, war, or violence, many who have languished in refugee camps for years.

"You don't have hope, there's no tomorrow. You just wake up in the morning and hang around the refugee camps in the tents," said Eric Ngamije, who fled the Democratic Republic of Congo. Ngamije has a lot of hope now. Five years after arriving in the states, he is not working in Lexington, helping you people acclimate to a new life.

"I enjoy helping, because I know so many people have been in a tough situation just like me," said Lyida Zeba Kamwanga Tshimbombo.

Facing near death, Tshimbombo fled the Democratic Republic of Congo. After spending 15 years in a refugee camp, she came to the United States in 2016. Now, she said she can't imagine living anywhere byt Lexington, going to work every day at the Kentucky Refugee Ministries.