TURNING THE TABLES AT CHRISTMAS–
REFUGEES FROM 30 WORLD HOT SPOTS
SHARE THEIR CULTURE, LEARN
ABOUT CHRISTMAS IN THE U.S.
With Tension About Refugees at a High Point,
Region’s Largest Refugee Outreach Sets Unique Christmas Event
DALLAS – Dec. 10, 2015 – Gateway of Grace—the largest refugee outreach in the region and founded by a refugee—turns the tables on the traditional “helping hand” this Christmas. Instead of serving meals to the displaced in North Texas. . . the displaced will serve their homemade dishes to North Texans.
“The goodwill we celebrate at Christmas extends to everyone,” said Samira Izadi Page, founder and executive director of Gateway of Grace. “This Christmas, refugees in our communities can give us the gift of meals from their homelands, even as we reach out to them with gifts and an explanation of what Christmas is about.”
The event—a Christmas Party for Refugees: Peace on Earth and Goodwill Toward Mankind—will be Friday, Dec. 18, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., at Wilshire Baptist Church, 4316 Abrams Road, Dallas 75214.
More than 200 refugees, their families and volunteers will be on hand for a potluck lunch of native food from around the world—Burma, Bhutan, Eritrea, Iran, Iraq, Afghanistan, Senegal, Sudan, Congo and Syria name just a sampling of nations represented. And dishes will range from African rice to Uzbek stew to whatever the families bring.
Each refugee family receives a gift card, and as live Christmas songs are sung, Santa Claus will share the story of St. Nicholas with children and explain what Christmas is about.
In 2014, of the 70,000 refugees arriving in the U.S., Texas received 11%–more than any other state, Page said. She knows their plight well. Her family fled Iran and sought political asylum in the U.S., where she eventually converted to Christianity, attended seminary and founded Gateway of Grace.
“The negative portrayal of refugees these days causes them to feel unwanted, to feel shame, insecurity, anxiety and fear,” she said. “With all that is going on in the world, this year, more than any other time, the message of Christmas is relevant in imparting dignity and worth to refugees. To share the joy of Christmas with refugees who have never experienced Christmas is a great way of removing some of the fear and anxiety and bringing healing into their lives.”
The event still needs volunteers for transportation and to provide gift cards plus necessary items for the refugee families including winter coats, baby formula and diapers.