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A refugee’s first Thanksgiving

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On Saturday November 18th, IRC in Atlanta staff, refugee clients, volunteers and community supporters gathered at Memorial Drive Presbyterian Church for our 16th Annual Thanksgiving Feast. For many of our newly-arrived refugee families this was their first experience of an American Thanksgiving, and we extend our heartfelt thanks to our friends from Hamzah Islamic Center, Unitarian Universalist Metro Atlanta North (UUMAN), I Care Atlanta, Concrete Jungle and Clarkston High School for providing an abundance of food and entertainment, making it a celebration to remember for years to come.

The hall starts to fill as people get ready to eat!
The hall starts to fill as people get ready to eat! Photo: IRC Atlanta

Refugees have known great turmoil in their lives but have shown the determination to overcome their obstacles with hope and dignity. While these families have been forced to flee war and persecution, they have taken advantage of the opportunity to rebuild their lives here in Atlanta and are now eager to embrace all that their new communities have to offer. The IRC in Atlanta is grateful for those supportive community members who extended their warmth and kindness to our new refugee neighbors this Thanksgiving, showing that Atlanta truly is deserving of its welcoming reputation. 

Thanks to generous donations, there was an abundance of food for our families to take home!
Thanks to generous donations, there was an abundance of food for our families to take home! Photo: Lexi Kim and Landon Trust

Not only did Hamzah Islamic Center and UUMAN provide a delicious, traditional Thanksgiving meal for more than 200 people, thanks to a generous donation of non-perishable food items from I Care Atlanta and a fresh harvest of beautiful produce from Concrete Jungle, all of our refugee families were able to take multiple bags of food home with them.

“It is truly humbling to experience an event like this,” said IRC volunteer coordinator, Duncan de la Feld. “Our mission – put most simply – is to bring communities together, and the Thanksgiving Feast is the occasion when that is most exemplified.  A simple act of sharing a meal with clients, staff, volunteers, and community supporters becomes a powerful statement on how we believe in a diverse community.”

The IRC in Atlanta would also like to thank photographers, Landon Trust and Lexi Kim, for all of the beautiful photos, and videographer, Ray Haddad, for capturing the excitement of this special day. Be sure to check out all the photos and video from this year’s Thanksgiving Feast.

To learn more about the work of the IRC in Atlanta and for information on how you can get involved with the IRC as a donor or volunteer, please contact Development Manager, Kalie Lasiter, at Kalie.Lasiter [at] Rescue.org or 678-636-8941.

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