On Wednesday, November 15th, nearly 250 community members, including over 75 refugees, came together to share a meal, bridge cultural divides, and celebrate the place we all call home. The International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Salt Lake City’s annual Breaking Bread event provided an opportunity for new Americans to share their stories with those supporters who continue to make refugees welcome in Utah raising over $28,000 to support crucial programming for the refugees we serve.
At the event hosted in The Garden Place at Heritage Park, guests enjoyed various activities, from snapping Polaroid photos in front of a hand-drawn chalk wall, to making festive fall crowns, and recording video messages of welcome and solidarity.
In the tradition of Thanksgiving, friends of the IRC in Salt Lake City, both old and new, sat down to a family-style meal alongside their new American neighbors, creating an opportunity to build new friendships and make connections with new neighbors. Sharing stories, experiences, and struggles allows Utahns and refugee families alike to build ties and understand the diverse backgrounds of those who share our state.
Guests shared cuisines from around the world prepared by Spice Kitchen Incubator entrepreneurs. We would like to thank Olives & Thyme for appetizers, Namash Swahili Cuisine and Januhongsar for entrees, and M Cuisine & Bakeshop for providing dessert. Mother of All Catering supplied meals for the nearly 50 IRC volunteers and staff members supporting the dinner.
See photos from the event by viewing our post on Facebook.com/IRCSaltLakeCity.
Tanner Billingsley, an IRC caseworker attending as a VIP Host volunteer with a refugee family, believes this evening was an opportunity for people to understand the personal outcomes of resettlement in the US. “I think people need to see that people’s lives do change as a result of coming to the US,” said Tanner. “I don’t think that’s just important for donors to hear, I think it’s good for the Utah public in general to know that the people who come here, their lives really are being changed. It’s something that’s worth investing in.”
After the presentation of Rescue Partner Awards during the program, Patrick Poulin, executive director of the IRC in Salt Lake City, offered his remarks to the crowd, acknowledging the shifting and uncertain policies surrounding immigration, but ultimately reminding our supporters there is still so much work to be done: “This is a journey together as we refocus our efforts to increase family stability, upward mobility, and positive integration for those refugees and immigrants here now, and we continue to maintain and build our welcoming community.”
Over the past year, fear and uncertainty have so deeply infiltrated our national climate. Breaking Bread gave us a moment to remember the importance of refocusing our efforts and working towards a positive future. We remember the value of understanding and acceptance in our communities.
We are proud to continue supporting refugees as they work toward self-sufficiency and success in our community, and we are dedicated to standing by new Americans as they build their home in Utah.
Finally, a sincere thanks to our event sponsors for their continued support of the IRC in Salt Lake City and the refugees we serve. Without their generosity, Breaking Bread would not be possible:
Susan Poulin, Summit Sotheby’s International Realty
Ravi Adusumalli and Mairi Leining
The Sally & Sarah Patrick Charitable Fund
Additionally, we would also like to extend our thanks to our in-kind sponsors, including
The Blended Table & Chef Tom Grant
You can learn more about supporting events like Breaking Bread by contacting us at SaltLakeCity [at] Rescue.org.