Sign In Forgot Password

Refugee Task Force


Updated 12/16/2020

During this pandemic, new immigration is at almost a standstill, but refugees and asylum seekers who are already in Central Texas are acutely impacted and need our help.   Congregation Beth Israel and Temple Beth Shalom are beginning a joint project to address the most pressing needs:  food, rental assistance, and internet access.


1.    Donate money to the Temple Beth Shalom Refugee Fund between now and June 30.   We have a matching gift donation so the first $3,500 will be matched one for one. We will work with Refugee Services of Texas (RST) and the Austin Sanctuary Network (ASN) to distribute funds to the most pressing needs in these communities.  Please contribute soon: rents are due this week!  Donations can be made to the Temple Beth Shalom Refugee Task Force at  When viewing the donations page, select the Refugee Task on the donation menu.

2.    Sign up on the Refugee Services of Texas website to be a volunteer.  Online volunteer training sessions are ongoing now. If you are already a RST volunteer, sign up to partner with a family and have food delivered to them. This is a critical need right now.  Go to the Volunteer Hub to sign up for these opportunities or any other opportunities as well. The RST staff contact is Lynn Burdick at

3.    We are also partnering with Austin Sanctuary Network to help provide weekly food assistance for up to 20 families. These families will hopefully transition to the new ASAP (Asylum Seeker Assistance Program) program at Refugee Services of Texas, but that will take one to two months and they need help now. Food needs are about $40 to $100 per family (depending on the size). You can provide funds, gift cards, buy food, deliver food or drop food off at a central location. We can connect you to Austin Sanctuary Network or directly to a family in need. For more information, contact Russ Apfel at  russapfel@yahoo.

4.    Donate working laptops and tablets (new or used).  If you have old laptops or tablets, start collecting these now and watch for instructions to drop these off in the coming weeks. Cathy Campbell at will be the key contact for computer donations or you may contact Lynn Burdick (, the Volunteer Coordinator at Refugee Services of Texas, and arrange a time to drop off.  

Contact Russ Apfel at or Cathy Campbell at if you have questions.  


About the Refugee Task Force

Temple Beth Shalom's Refugee Task Force is a grassroots community group who gather together to support and advocate for refugees. Members of the Refugee Task Force help in many different ways, from being tutors at English learning programs for adults and children, to organizing donation drives and hosting advocacy events. We have formed Welcome Teams to support two families arriving from Afghanistan. Please consider financially supporting our refugee task force to help us continue our work! 

In the Torah, we are told "The stranger who resides with you shall be to you as one of your citizens. You shall love each one as yourself, for you were strangers in the land of Egypt."(Lev.19:34) This commandment to welcome the stranger is the most often repeated commandment in the Torah, repeated thirty-six times. Since January 2017 as our community responded to the call of the stranger, we have opened up our hearts, hands and minds, as the doors to our country were closed shut and opened once again. 

From community service, advocacy, education, and donations, there's something for everyone interested in getting involved. Join our Facebook group to share resources and participate in discussions, or email  to be added to the Refugee Task Force mailing list. 

Sun, July 25 2021 16 Av 5781