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Slow Food Russian River recognized that the county lacked resources to welcome recent Syrian refugees. And so they collaborated with Jewish Family Community Services, International Rescue Committee, and No One Left Behind to raise the funds needed to accommodate incoming refugees.

Together the groups hosted a Middle Eastern meal as a fundraiser.

The dinner raised over $10,000. Requests were filled: high quality backpacks, kitchen packs, kettles, bike helmets, locks, Home Depot gift cards, and more were purchased to be “auctioned” off at the dinner and then given to refugees in need.

The dinner was a community collaboration: the chef from a local Mediterranean restaurant, an immigrant himself, provided the appetizers, a wine shop owner made an Israeli hors d’oeuvre, and the piece de resistance was a young immigrant Afghani chef who cooked the dinner. Ali brought a sous chef and his family to the event. He had previously cooked for a U.S. military base which opened the door for his entrance to the States. The Russian River Slow Food Chapter was thrilled to pay Ali and team for their culinary work.

This project provided support for dozens of refugee families. There is no telling the ultimate effect produced by this Slow Food village with their Slow Food vision.