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Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media as well as a dance teacher, choreographer and proud former homeschooler. Her blog will uncover the untold stories of Montgomery County and introduce diverse people and businesses of interest in the community. She can be reached... Read more

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Introducing Thanksgiving to County Refugees

Refugees attend a 2012 Thanksgiving dinner organized by the Ethiopian Community Development Council in Silver Spring.

Refugees attend a Thanksgiving dinner organized by the Ethiopian Community Development Council in Silver Spring.

Many people are traveling home this coming week to spend time with family and enjoy a homemade meal in honor of Thanksgiving.

But here in Montgomery County, there are some people that are new to both the area and to American culture and one local organization is taking extra steps to ensure they get the meaning of the holiday that’s important to those around them.

The Ethiopian Community Development Council, a non-profit organization that “resettles” refugees from a range of countries including Bhutan, Iraq, Iran, Burma, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Somalia, Afghanistan and China, is holding a Thanksgiving dinner in Arlington, Va., on Nov. 24 to introduce them to the culture of celebrating and giving thanks.

“The purpose of the dinner is to introduce our newly arrived refugee clients to the quintessential American holiday and spirit of Thanksgiving,” said Amanda Pourciau, Resource Development Coordinator for the Ethiopian Community Development Council in Silver Spring. “We hope that this celebration will help them not only learn about their new country but also connect them to their new community.”

Last year, more than 200 guests attended the event, and this year, the organization is hoping for close to 300.

The food spread will be an interesting and diverse one. Last year, they had traditional American Thanksgiving foods in addition to Nepali samosas, Burmese fried rice, Iraqi bread, and Ethiopian stews.

“We include American Thanksgiving feast favorites as well as traditional dishes and dances from community members’ home countries, and activities for children,” said Marisa Howard, Project KNOW Health Outreach Advocate for the Ethiopian Community Development Council. “This meal gives an opportunity to our newest members to give back to the community by sharing food and music from their own cultures.”

This year, there will be close to 100 volunteers assisting with signing in guests, decorating, setting up the room and tables and cleaning up.

Find more information on the dinner and how you can help out here.

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Valerie Bonk

About Valerie Bonk

Valerie Bonk is a multimedia reporter and community engagement specialist with Montgomery Community Media (MCM).

Comments

One Response to “Introducing Thanksgiving to County Refugees”

  1. On November 26, 2013 at 10:35 am responded with... #

    Great story and what a beautiful idea! Love it!




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