Iowa’s largest refugee resettlement agency is hosting a benefit today to raise funds for an expected 125 Afghan refugees coming to the state, along with more than 300 refugees from other countries.
The Des Moines field office for the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants has raised more than $43,000 so far toward a goal of 50,000. Office director Kerri True-Funk says she’s happy Iowa is upholding its history in welcoming refugees.
“When you when you read the news or watch TV, it can feel like there’s a lot of division in the country,” True-Funk says, “but really, this shows us that Iowans still believe in helping their neighbors and helping refugees and making sure that their community is a welcoming place.”
The office is hosting its “Welcoming Iowa” event for the third year and has raised more money this year than during all of the past efforts. “We call it welcoming Iowa, because we are really interested in making our newest Island neighbors feel welcome, feel part of the community,” she says. The funds will go toward legal services, health care, education and other living expenses.
The event starts at 5 p.m. in West Des Moines’ Valley Junction. Registration is available online or at the door.
(By Kassidy Arena, Iowa Public Radio)