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Breaking Bread with Refugees

January 11, 2017
Program Type
Community Building / Civic Engagement
Display / Passive Program
Exhibition
Oral History and Preservation
Party / Reception
Target Audience
Adult
Children / Family
College Students
Community Members
Older Adults
Young Adult
Program Topic
History / Politics / Civics
Arts and Culture
Budget
$1,001-2,500
Advance Planning

The program was planned in collaboration with the the IRC and the CSI Refugee Center. Early in the process, staff members met to map out the program and its goals. We decided on the maximum number of attendees, location, content and means of execution. As seating was limited in the venue space, we asked community members to RSVP. A library staff member took reservations for the evening, and we quickly filled the allotted 70 spaces. 

Marketing

The program was marketed in the following ways: the library's newsletter, articles in the local papers (Idaho Mountain Express and The Weekly Sun), social media platforms (Facebook and Twitter), the library's website, the Idaho Mountain Express's calendar and on KDPI Radio 88.5 Ketchum, the local radio station.

Budget Details

The library spent $256 on chairs for the event space. I was unable to ascertain the costs for the partner organizations, but I would estimate the total budget for the event, including food, to be in the $1,000 to $2,500 range.

Day-of-event Activity

Staff members from The Community Library set up a room at the Sun Valley Museum of History for the event, which was scheduled from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. We laid out tables for the dining portion of the event and set up microphones and a sound system for the evening's speakers.

Staff members and refugees from the IRC and the CSI Refugee Center drove from Boise and Twin Falls, respectively, for the event. 

Program Execution

The presenters discussed the resettlement process for refugees in Boise and Twin Falls. Attendees were able to ask the speakers questions and also spend time with the refugees. Attendees were curious about refugees' experience in the United States and how they had been received in their new communities.

In total, 70 members of the public showed up, along with 5 staff members, 3 speakers and 15 refugees. IRC staff members brought Afghan food with them for the program.

The program went very well by all accounts. We were filled to capacity; all seats were filled and all food was eaten. We succeeded in our goal of introducing community members to refugees and informing them on the work of the two refugee organizations that were present.

Feedback was overwhelmingly positive. The attendees I spoke with very much enjoyed the evening and pledged to become more involved in the refugee community here in Idaho, saying they would like to volunteer their time to the cause.

Advice

Ensure you have multiple staff members involved with the planning and execution of this program. It is time- and resource-consuming. The more staff involved, the smoother the program will run.

Short Title
Breaking Bread with Refugees

Our primary goal for this evening program was to give community members a chance to meet with and speak to refugees who recently resettled in our region.

During the course of the program, Julianne Tzul, executive director of the International Rescue Committee (IRC) in Boise, and Zeze Rwasama of the CSI Refugee Center discussed their organizations' work resettling refugees in Idaho.

The evening also showcased two new art exhibits at Ketchum's Sun Valley Museum of History: "The Refugee Portrait Project," which featured photographs by Ken Bingham, and a traveling exhibit of handmade quilts by refugees.

  • A person stands up to speak at the Breaking Bread with Refugees event.
    A person stands up to speak at the Breaking Bread with Refugees event. Photo credit: Scott Burton
  • The crowd enjoys Afghan food.
    The crowd enjoys Afghan food. Photo credit: Scott Burton
  • Attendees learn about the experiences of refugees in Idaho.
    Attendees learn about the experiences of refugees in Idaho. Photo credit: Scott Burton
Summary

A packed house gathered at Ketchum, Idaho's Community Library to have dinner with local refugees.