Editor’s note: This story was updated to clarify the partnership between the Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce and Luthern Services Carolinas.
MYRTLE BEACH, S.C. (WBTW) — Myrtle Beach will receive refugees from countries including Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan due to Lutheran Services Carolinas.
Lutheran Services Carolinas has helped more than 1,600 refugees in North and South Carolina. The new program will allow refugees to live in Myrtle Beach while learning the American culture.
During the Russian War in Ukraine, leaders in Myrtle Beach have been finding a way to help refugees from Ukraine and other countries in the region.
“A lot of places is being bombed,” said Stan Petrowski, president of The World for Ukraine. “A lot of the infrastructure is being bombed right now. And people just have no other options just to flee the country just to escape to a safe place.”
Petrowski was born in Ukraine and has lived in Myrtle Beach for 10 years. He’s been advocating for the city to help refugees.
The Myrtle Beach Area Chamber of Commerce partnered with the Luthern Services Carolinas to host an informational session with businesses to find the refugees jobs.
“They need to be able to provide for their families, to provide for their children, so they have no other options but to escape,” he said.
“Refugees are always fleeing something awful, some sort of persecution, some sort of dangerous situation,” said Matt Hembree, executive director for the New Americans program. “They don’t sometimes have anything other than the shirts on their back.”
The New Americans program will place refugees in temporary and permanent housing while helping them learn about American culture and finding employment.
“We’re starting off very slow,” Hembree said. “We are committed to quality of service, not quantity.”
Seventy-five refugees from Ukraine, Syria and Afghanistan will be able to start a new life and build careers in Myrtle Beach, which Hembree said has a need for employment and offers a variety of housing and cultural orientation.
“It’s been great to see this change as it’s been great to witness these opportunities to be open here,” Petrowski said. “I think that it’s going to benefit in the long term.”
Hembree said there’s not an exact date when refugees will arrive in Myrtle Beach, but hopes to start training in the spring.
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Maya Lockett is a reporter at News13. Maya is from Los Angeles. She joined the News13 team in November 2021. She graduated from Syracuse University. Follow Maya on Twitter and read more of her work here.