Thank You For Supporting Our Welcoming Iowa 2022 Benefit

By USCRI October 26, 2022

USCRI Des Moines hosted its fourth annual Welcoming Iowa benefit Thursday, October 20, 2022, from 5:00 – 7:00 p.m. at West End Architectural Salvage in downtown Des Moines. The event was a celebration of Iowa’s proud history of welcoming refugees.

USCRI Des Moines has welcomed over 4,000 refugees since 2010, resettling over 400 individuals this past year, including more than 250 Afghans. In addition to helping new Iowans establish homes and livelihoods, we provide access to health care, education, legal support, and other vital community resources.

Axios reporter Linh Ta emceed the event, guiding guests through a look back on Afghan resettlement. USCRI VP of Strategic Development Kevin Sturtevant and USCRI Des Moines Field Office Director Kerri True-Funk presented the year in review, highlighting the accomplishments of the local office and work being done by the organization across the globe.

We also heard from a panel of speakers including Jane Patton, one of many volunteers who jumped in to assist during an extremely busy year, and the Mirzayee family, which was resettled by USCRI.

Our keynote speaker was former Iowa First Lady Christie Vilsack. She used her experience as an educator and advisor to the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) to emphasize the importance of education, including the work done by the U.S. government to promote schooling for girls and boys inside Afghanistan. She encouraged the audience to become “strategic storytellers” and use their voice to lift others.

Over 250 attendees enjoyed a performance by the Genesis Youth Foundation’s Afrobeats dance group. Food was provided by refugee and immigrant-owned businesses, including Phở All Seasons, Bah Kunda Kitchen, and El Salvador del Mundo.

Iowans raised over $56,000 through the event to support Afghan and refugee arrivals to Central Iowa. For those unable to attend, you can still donate online by visiting this website.

 


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