On May 22, 2016, 150 refugee clients along with 70 volunteers and faith and community partners gathered at Rock of Ages Lutheran Church in Stone Mountain for LSG’s Breaking Bread and Building Bridges potluck dinner.
“All around the world, people join together to break bread and share a meal as a way of building relationships with neighbors and strengthen their community,” said Melanie Johnson, program manager, Lutheran Services of Georgia. “At our annual potluck dinner, congregation members, community partners, volunteers, and refugees are able to gather around a table, learn from each other, and make new friends."
This is LSG’s third year hosting this multicultural meal.
During the event, LSG’s Refugee and Immigration staff presented several LSG Bridge Awards to honor those who build bridges between people from many cultures.
This year’s LSG Bridge Awards were presented to the following groups and individuals:
In 2015, LSG Kids Club began partnering with Something New to provide recreational and therapeutic arts programs for newly resettled refugee youth.
Pictured (left to right): Julie McGowen, a Something New volunteer; Jessie Burnette, LSG Kids Club Coordinator; and Amanda Farnsworth, Something New’s New Expressions (arts program) Director.
Aden M. Hussein and Halal Pizza
After arriving to the United States from Somalia many years ago, Mr. Hussein was able to find work through the help of LSG refugee employment specialist Obaid Rasoul. Now that he owns and operates Halal Pizza, Mr. Hussein has shown his gratitude by donating food for this and several other LSG events for refugees.
Melanie Johnson (left), Program Manager for Volunteer, Congregation and Community Engagement, LSG, and Emily Laney (center), Director of Refugee and Immigration Services, LSG, are pictured with Aden Hussein, owner, Halal Pizza.
Airport Chaplains: Whitney Robichaux, Barbara Pendergrast and Donna Mote
Each week, chaplains at Hartsfield-Jackson Airport greet refugee families arriving in Atlanta in their first moments stepping off the airplane. LSG’s resettlement case managers are not allowed to pass the security gates. Thanks to the chaplains, our refugee clients are warmly welcomed at their arrival gate and guided through the busy airport. The chaplains have gone above and beyond, welcoming clients at all hours of the night and often greeting multiple arrivals per day.
Pictured NurAbdi, LSG; Rev. Whitney Robichaux, Christ the King Cathedral; Crispin Wiljonda, LSG; Barbara Pendergrast, Chaplain, Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson Airport; Zakaria Abdulrazek, LSG.
Cheryl Bopp, Sharon King and Allison Cooper - Clothes Closet Volunteers
LSG is fortunate to receive many clothing donations from the community for our refugee clients. The Clothing Closet, housed at Rock of Ages Lutheran Church, relies heavily on volunteers to organize the large amounts of donations we receive, and Cheryl, Sharon, and Allison have been instrumental in keeping this program running. In addition, they meet each newly arrived refugee family to help them select clothing for their new life in Georgia.
Pictured: Volunteers Sharon King (left) and heryl Bopp (center) with Emily Laney, LSG (right).
Passion City Church
Passion City Church hosted a donation drive called Project Supply: Clarkston. Congregation members helped “set the table” for LSG refugee families through donations of kitchen supplies. PCC volunteers Phillip and Liande Heyns accepted award.
Phu Phu is a refugee from Burma who was resettled along with her family (Mom and Dad, older brother) by LSG in 2014. Phu Phu is currently working a job but also making preparations to eventually go to college. She is one of LSG’s newest Refugee and Immigration Services volunteers. This summer she’ll be working with refugee children and youth as a LSG Kid’s Club counselor.
Are you interested in building bridges in our community?
LSG’s Refugee and Immigration Services programs are always in need of volunteers. For information on how you can get involved, contact our volunteer manager Melanie Johnson at firstname.lastname@example.org.