Annual Event Celebrates Refugees, Honors Volunteers and Community Partners

 
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On the 19th of November, close to 250 people gathered to share food and friendship at our annual Breaking Bread and Building Bridges potluck. 

Refugees, individuals, and faith volunteers alike enjoyed delicious homemade dishes from the U.S., Syria, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Nepal, and more. 

Attendees had fun discussing their favorite cultural holidays and meals with one another, and several Congolese refugees present performed a traditional dance for the group.  

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·Several volunteers, faith partners, and community members were honored for their outstanding contributions to our clients.  Honorees included:    

St. John’s Lutheran Church, for their assistance furnishing numerous apartments for newly arrived refugees and for their participation as a Circle of Welcome partner.

 Craig Storlie, accepting the award on behalf of St. John’s Lutheran Church

Craig Storlie, accepting the award on behalf of St. John’s Lutheran Church

Susan Lyke, for the many times she has shared her ESOL training and curriculum with Circle of Welcome teams and individual volunteers.

Randy Potts and the Youth Group of Christ the Shepherd Lutheran, for their annual donation and delivery of welcome bags to newly arrived refugee families.

 Randy Potts, who leads the Youth Group at Christ the Shepherd Lutheran Church

Randy Potts, who leads the Youth Group at Christ the Shepherd Lutheran Church

Katie Curtis and Dario Bilakovic, for their committed service as First Friend Cultural Mentors to a number of refugee families.

Cheryl Bopp, Mary Kay Kates, and the whole Rock of Ages Clothing Closet Team, for their commitment to operating the clothing closet every week for many years, ensuring that our refugee clients have the clothing items they need.

 Mary Kay Kates, accepting on behalf of the Rock of Ages Clothing Closet volunteers

Mary Kay Kates, accepting on behalf of the Rock of Ages Clothing Closet volunteers

Guru Chhetri, for his volunteer work following his employment with LSG, providing interpretation and transportation assistance; and for his support of our fundraising initiatives this past year.

 LSG Staff Crispin Wiljonda and Melanie Johnson pose with Guru Chhetri.

LSG Staff Crispin Wiljonda and Melanie Johnson pose with Guru Chhetri.

Obaid Rasoul, for his over 30 years of service as an employment specialist with LSG and his ongoing volunteer work with refugees.

Dorothy Beasley, for her advocacy on behalf of refugees, her work as a First Friend Cultural Mentor, and her previous volunteer work with LSG’s cultural orientation and citizenship classes.

 Aimmee Zongondou (LSG), Dorthy Beasley and Melanie Johnson (LSG).

Aimmee Zongondou (LSG), Dorthy Beasley and Melanie Johnson (LSG).

In spite of the challenging year the resettlement community has faced—not to mention the cold and rainy weather of the evening—potluck attendees left in high spirits, warmed by the lively conversations and new friendships struck up while gathered around the table.    

Thank you to everyone who came out and made this event an overwhelming success!