CLEVELAND — While everyone is enjoying their turkeys with all the sides, one nonprofit ensured more than 200 meals for Afghan refugees who will learn about the American holiday while getting a taste of home.
If you walked in Kifaya’s Kitchen Thanksgiving morning, you’d find her and her daughters prepping cultural but a nontraditional Thanksgiving meal.
“I’m making rice, goat, chicken, fish and salad,” said Kifaya Mohammed who’s owned the restaurant for 8 years.
The reason she’d cook all of that food is that the US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants reached out to three different restaurants to serve 200 meals to 60 different Afghan refugee families.
“There's Kifiyas kitchen here, which is a wonderful restaurant, Assad’s bakery, and an afghan women's collective organized by refugee response,” said Graham Ball with the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants.
The meals are a mix of traditional Afghan, Somalian and Middle Eastern cuisine, all of which will be halal.
“Halal meals are prepared in a specific manner to be sensitive to Muslim refugees,” said Ball.
Alone with each hot meal, is a welcome note and some information about Thanksgiving.
For the Kifaya in the kitchen, this task is deeper than just a hot meal.
“They’re refugees so I wanted to help,” said Mohammed.
Mohammed actually feeds refugees regularly using her restaurant and any other means to help because she remembers what it was like when she first came to the states.
“In the beginning was very difficult. It was stressful. It was a new country with new food. I was not used to it.” she continued. “Even though there was hunger and a war going on back home. There were so many times that I just wanted to go back home because I know the people you know that culture.”
But over time she says, it got better. Mohammed came to the states on Nov. 30, 2006. Now she is just 8 days away before she makes 15 years in America. She continues to serve and help those who are just like her.
“When I hear about new refugees coming I feel their pain. I've been there so I want to be able to help them right now and I have the chance to help them,” said Mohammed said.
For most refugees brought in by USCRI, their first meal comes from Mohammed, and her message is always the same that touches people of multiple communities. She says "Welcome to the U.S.s in English, Arabic and Somalian.
If you'll like to donate or learn more about USCRI, click here.
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