World Refugee Day Raises Awareness

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World-Refugee-Day-Event-El-Grito-de-la-Cultura-Folk-Dance-Acadamy-by-pam-marino-good-neighbor-storiesToday, June 20, is World Refugee Day, dedicated to raising awareness about the plight of more than 43 million refugees around the world, who are forced to flee from their homes under threat of persecution, violence, and war. Thousands of refugees live here in the Bay Area.

Last Friday, June 14, the American Red Cross Silicon Valley Chapter, PARS Equality Center, The Presbytery of San Jose, and the Refugee and Immigrant Forum of Santa Clara County, collaborated to host the 21st Annual World Refugee Day event at the Campbell Community Center. A few hundred people gathered to enjoy music, dance, and food representing a number of cultures represented by the refugees present.

Performances included traditional dances from Russia, Eritrea and other parts of Africa, Mexico, and Israel. In addition, volunteers from several agencies who give hundreds of hours of service to mentor and care for refugees in Santa Clara County were honored.

UPDATE: You can still celebrate at the Friday, June 21, World Refugee Day 2013 event in Oakland. It’s taking place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Lake Merritt Bandstand, behind Fairyland. It includes food, performances, games, and free Fairyland tickets to the first 300 families. The event is sponsored by the East Bay Refugee Forum, and other local organizations.

See more photos and find out how you can get involved after the jump. [Read more…]

Five Ways To Be A Good Neighbor In June

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1) Celebrate National Doughnut Day, June 3: Who doesn’t love doughnuts? Tomorrow is National Doughnut Day, to commemorate the Salvation Army “Lassies”, young women who made and handed out fresh doughnuts to American soldiers in Europe during both World Wars. When soldiers returned home they craved the sweet treats, and the rest of America was introduced to the doughnut. Consider dough-nating (sorry) to the Salvation Army, which right now is front-and-center in Joplin, MO., helping survivors of deadly tornados. You can donate online, or text DONUT or JOPLIN to 80888 to make a $10 donation.

2) Share Your Lunch: Officials at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Clara and San Mateo Counties predict that 1 in 5 kids will go hungry this summer while school is out. Kids that normally qualify for free lunches at school have few options during summer vacation. The food bank is looking for people and organizations to host food drives during June, to stock up on needed items for distribution around the two counties. You can participate in a virtual food drive by donating money online. [Read more…]