UNO donations give refugees a place to rest


By Rachel George, Assistant Art Director

UNO has donated 284 dorm beds from University Village to Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska (LFS). Replacing the old beds with newer, more efficient furniture, UNO has given many refugees a place to sleep through their donation to LFS’s refugee resettlement program.

Organizers allotted three days, July 5 through 7, to move the beds from University Village to a donated storage space.

“We decided to donate the beds to keep them out of the landfill,” said Bill Pickett, director of University Housing. “I checked into recycling them and the cost was high. Ultimately, giving back to the community is a big part of the UNO mission so it seemed clear to donate them to a group that would utilize them.”

The LFS refugee resettlement program helps about 500 refugees per year, helping those who came to the United States seeking protection from persecution in their native countries1.

“Nebraska’s refugee population has mainly come from Southeast Asia and Vietnam, the former Soviet Union, Bosnia, the Middle East and Africa, especially Somali and the Sudan,” said Bev Carlson, LFS’s director of public relations. “Refugee Services is a program of Lutheran Family Services of Nebraska that provides services to refugees before, during and after their arrival, including resettlement and employment services.”

The LFS refugee resettlement program prepares for the refugee’s arrival and gives the refugee access to opportunities like learning English, adapting culturally, and seeking employment, health care and more.

“The past company that owned University Village always donated items to them,” Pickett said. “So, it worked out for both of us when they called. It was an easy decision to make sure they were looking for items to help with refugee families.”

“The beds are a tremendous asset for the program,” Carlson said. “It’s estimated that they will help in apartment set-ups for at least one year – and help many families. In most cases, those using the beds will be children, many of whom have never slept on a bed before – only on the ground in a tent.”