Increasingly, the media has portrayed the devastating stories of refugees in crisis. The heartbreaking images can seem overwhelming, as if nothing can be done to ease the burden of those suffering. Thankfully, we are blessed to have a local nonprofit on the frontline: Kentucky Refugee Ministries (KRM) is fighting for some of the world’s most vulnerable people.
KRM’s work begins long before a family arrives at Louisville International Airport. First, they secure an apartment and ensure that it is fully furnished and equipped with all of the necessities. A staff member will greet all arriving refugees at the airport and transport them to their new home. From there, it is getting them to and from doctors’ offices, the social security office and school, just to name a few of their services. They provide English and skill classes, along with employment assistance. Every step of the way, they stay with the family on their journey to self-sufficiency.
According to Christine Gosney, a caseworker and grants assistant at KRM, nearly 1,300 people have been resettled this program year. “KRM resettles refugees from various countries, including people from the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Somalia, Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Cuba, Burma, Bhutan and more,” she says. “Of the clients served at KRM, some of the largest groups are from Cuba and Syria.”
Gosney continues, “Overall, the U.S. prioritizes the most vulnerable people: women, children and those with medical needs.”
From welcoming a family at the airport to helping them apply for citizenship, the comprehensive services KRM provides to resettled families can be costly. The funds generated from their annual event Global Gourmet are used to sustain efforts throughout the year.
This year, the 17th annual Global Gourmet will take place on Friday, September 16 at Mellwood Arts & Entertainment Center. What originated as a celebration of international food has grown into an event that hosts 500 guests, all enjoying some of Louisville’s best international cuisine and live music while celebrating the contributions refugees have made to our community. Thanks to a special ticket donation, more than 50 past and present refugee clients will be able to join the celebration this year.
“This past year, we have seen a tremendous growth in support from donors and volunteers,” says Gosney, adding, “Whether you donate or volunteer, you are helping to create a welcoming community for those who have fled violence or persecution.”
Anyone can help by donating money or household items. Monetary donations help support programs, while household items help the resettled families furnish their new homes. Volunteers can get involved in various ways, including tutoring children.
Each person has the ability to make the world a better place. Yet, no one can do it alone. VT
For more information on how to help or to purchase tickets for this year’s Global Gourmet, call 502.479.9180.
By Sara Giza, Contributing Writer