On January 11th, 14 youth and adults represented Kids4Peace Atlanta in a service project to celebrate Martin Luther King Day. One of our newest board members, Khadeejah from the Roswell Community Masjid (RCM), planned the service project for the group.
K4P families gathered gently used coats, gloves, hats, scarves, blankets, clothing, non-perishable food items and personal hygiene products. On that Saturday, we met at the Clarkston Community Center to meet the people who work in this refugee community of Atlanta. We joined with families from RCM.
Zane from Jewish Family Services and Safiya from RISSA (Refugee Resettlement and Immigration Services of Atlanta) talked about the process of receiving the refugee families in Atlanta. Usually, they have 2 weeks prior notice, but have had as little as 36 hours prior notice before a family arrived. They told us that many of the families come with 1-2 bags with them and sometimes they bring nothing.
We had lunch at the Clarkston Community Center with another one of our hosts, Saimia of the Clarkston Interfaith Group. She led an ice breaker where we introduced ourselves by first name and how we came to live where we currently live. There were people in our group from all over the world and it was interesting to hear how they ended up in the Atlanta area.
We distributed the collected items to families from Ethiopia, Uganda and Somalia. They were so grateful and friendly. The children were a delight to watch as they “shopped” for themselves among all of the goodies. Special appearances were made by the Clarkston Mayor and a new Clarkston city councilman.
We left with a feeling of satisfaction, knowing that we helped newcomers to our country and our area. We talked about how we would handle moving to a new country with so few possessions and having to integrate into a new society, culture and language. It was then that we realized what a wonderful gift we had given these families.
K4P Atlanta hopes to make this an annual service project and possibly interact with the children and families more in the future.
— Jennifer Combs, Program Coordinator, Kids4Peace Atlanta