For Refugees in Los Angeles, a Special Early Thanksgiving Celebration
On Thursday, November 17, approximately 50 individuals who had fled countries such as Egypt, Uganda, Iran, Iraq, and Eritrea out of fear of persecution gathered at the International Rescue Committee in Glendale to celebrate an early Thanksgiving.
The IRC event was the second annual Thanksgiving celebration generously sponsored by Wells Fargo Bank. The guests expressed what they were thankful for on paper turkeys and posted it on the walls of the IRC office, learned about the history and meaning behind Thanksgiving, and enjoyed traditional Thanksgiving fare - roast turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie. Pumpkin, apple and pecan pies were generously donated by Euro Pane Bakery in Pasadena, Gelsons’ Viktor Benes Bakery, and Magnolia Bakery in Los Angeles. Additionally, Porto’s Bakery in Glendale contributed five gift certificates that were raffled off to attendees who expressed what they were thankful for on a paper turkey and posted it on the walls of the IRC office.
For Makeda, from Ethiopia, this was her first Thanksgiving and her first taste of turkey. “I liked it a lot. I always wanted to try cranberry sauce, and I liked that, too,” she said.
Newcomers were also introduced to the tradition brought to these shores by the Mayflower pilgrims, that of breaking the wishbone, the thin, Y-shaped bone found in the breastbone of fowl. After making wishes for the coming year, two individuals take one end of the thin wishbone. At the same time, they try to break the thin bone in half, snapping it into two pieces. Tradition says that the wish will come true for the person left holding the bigger piece of the bone. Edison, a political asylee from Uganda, and the Branch Manager at a local Wells Fargo Bank in Glendale broke the wishbone together. Edison pulled off the larger piece with a triumphant grin.