Huge ‘Refugee and Immigrant Resource Fair’ is well attended

INCLUDES EXCLUSIVE VIDEO | Discover why many organizations came together to put on this special outer East Portland fair, held at Warner Pacific University …

The number of those attending the second annual the Refugee and Immigrant Resource Fair at Warner Pacific University continues to grow as the day goes on.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

The campus of Warner Pacific University (WPU) is typically quiet on a Saturday afternoon. But, on January 27, it teemed with activity — because the Refugee and Immigrant Resource Fair was underway.

OHSU and Lutheran Community Services NW organized the day, with the focus on the rotunda-like McGuire Auditorium on Warner Pacific University’s main campus.

Nadine Elbitar says she’s pleased at how the fair is going. Nadine is the Community Outreach Coordinator for Lutheran Community Services NW.

“While this is a ‘Resource Fair’, we are also celebrating the cultures of all the refugees, immigrants, asylum seekers, and their families who are here in the Portland area,” explained Nadine Elbitar, who is Lutheran Community Services NW Community Outreach Coordinator.

Last year, they hosted 300 guests. “Hopefully this year we’ll break that record,” Elbitar remarked.

You’ll get a better feel for all this event included by watching our video:

“So here, in addition to celebrating their cultures, we’re also providing them with resources,” Elbitar told East Portland News. “To help accomplish this, we have 30 organizations staffing resource tables with us today.”

Ecumenical Ministries of Oregon community outreach coordinator for Slavic Oregon Social Services Olga Shcherbakova, and SOAR Immigration Legal Services Ukraine Outreach Coordinator Kseniia Nesviatypaska, listen to concerns of an attendee while telling about their non-governmental organization’s services, as they staff their booth.

Some of the organizations present were there to help people navigate the job market; others were providing resources concerning what kind of insurance they’ll need to have; and still others are telling about legal services and medical providers – all of which are available to the attendees.

“This is what we do it Lutheran Community Services; this is our first line of service,” Elbitar explained. “We help them with settlement, finding work, and providing support services for women and for kids.”

Ukraine singer Inna Kovtun performs traditional songs from her native country.

Entertainment from many cultures on the stage made for a lively afternoon. Between activities, organizers held drawings for door prizes. It appeared that a particularly significant turnout was amongst the Afghan, Somali, Afghan, and Ukrainian refugee communities.

As the fair continued, Elbitar said she was happy to see everyone there. “I enjoy interacting with many cultures; which is why I enjoy living in the United States – I am from Lebanon, a small country. Seeing so many different parts of the world represented here makes me happy!”

Attendees learn about services useful to them from organization representatives who speak their language, and know their culture.

After the fair, Elbitar told East Portland News, “We hosted 700+ guests on Saturday! And, we had great feedback from our communities, partners, friends, and families – people created beautiful memories from this day.”

Morgan Anderson, the WPU Office for Advancement, Events & Conference Services Planner, also chimed in after it was over. “We were happy to host this important resource fair, and  we are also excited about the great turnout. It looks like many connections were made, and resources given, to these under-served groups – many of which are new to this country.”

For more information about Lutheran Community Services NW, CLICK HERE.

And, to learn more about Warner Pacific University, CLICK HERE.

© 2024 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News™

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