Refugee Services

A Big Problem in a Small Community: Payday lending debt in Mankato

MCC Refugee Services in Mankato recently agreed to partner with an initiative of the Minneapolis Synod ELCA working to combat predatory payday lending in Minnesota communities. Payday loans are small loans, usually less than $500, that charge a high interest rate and must be repaid in full by the next paycheck. Families without financial margins can become easily entrapped in a devastating cycle of payday loans.

Blue Earth County has the 3rd highest rate of payday loans per capita in Minnesota and the statistics are staggering. For example, in 2018 there were:

Sisters Making a Difference

Members of the Delta Phi Omega Chapter in the Twin Cities made a generous donation of grocery gift cards for particularly vulnerable families who arrived with refugee status this year. These gift cards provided tangible support and the encouragement of welcome to each of these families. But how did the sisters in this chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha come to make the donation? Every donation has a story, a point where the donors heard about refugees and decided to take action. We wanted to share a bit of that story with you, as told by their president, Mary Dedeaux-Swinton.

Welcoming Our 2019-20 Social Work Interns!

Each year, we have the opportunity to host Social Work interns from local universities, sometimes at the Bachelor’s level, and sometimes at the Master’s level. This year, we are hosting both and are excited to share with them the reality of daily work with families who came to Minnesota with refugee status, and to have their help and support in this work.

This year, we asked each intern to introduce themselves, so without further ado, meet:


There’s Work to Be Done

When the opportunity to lobby for refugees in Washington D.C. arose, Habiba Rashid jumped at the chance. MCC’s former Executive Director, Peg Chemberlin, was collaborating with Oxfam on a World Refugee Day advocacy day, and turned to MCC Refugee Services to see if any former refugees on our staff would be willing to travel to D.C. and share their story on the Hill.