Arlington, Va., November 16, 2023 – ECDC’s branch office, the African Community Center (ACC) DC Metro will host its 11th annual Refugees’ First Thanksgiving dinner on Sunday, November 19, at the Silver Spring Civic Center in Maryland, which will offer a unique experience to the hundreds of refugees it has resettled this year in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia metro areas.
ECDC’s Refugees First Thanksgiving Dinners are also held annually by ECDC’s branch offices in Las Vegas and Denver, gathering newcomers to share a traditional American meal pot-luck style with community members. The event introduces refugees, for the first time, to the quintessential American holiday and spirit of Thanksgiving.
At the Silver Spring event, to be held at 1 Veterans Place, Silver Spring MD, 20910, the ACC DC Metro, with the help of community volunteers and donations from local businesses, expects to host over 1,000 refugees and their families. In attendance will also be about 150 community members, 50 volunteers, and members of the ECDC staff.
The event is designed to mark a hopeful beginning for newly arrived families from 15 countries that include among others Afghanistan, Ukraine, El Salvador, and Syria, as they join members of the wider community in celebrating Thanksgiving.
There will be community networking, cultural music, dance performances, children’s games, and food— both traditional American dishes and foods shared by the newly arrived refugees.
While ECDC’s Thanksgiving Dinners traditionally have been held in Arlington at ECDC’s community hall, this year’s event will move to Silver Spring, Maryland, where the African Community Center has a second office, which covers both Montgomery and PG counties, serves a high density of refugees from countries such as the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Syria, and El Salvador, some have spent years living in refugee camps while others were forced to flee precarious living conditions and violence
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About ACC DC Metro
ACC DC Metro is a branch office of ECDC responsible for directly helping DMV area refugees who have fled violence and persecution in the transition to rebuild their lives through social, educational, and employment programs. With offices in both Maryland and Virginia, the ACC DC team works with refugees and community partners to promote self-sufficiency and integration across the DC area.
ECDC is one of ten resettlement agencies working in partnership with the Department of State and the Office of Refugee Resettlement to provide initial placement and support services to refugees being resettled in the United States. As the only community-based resettlement agency, ECDC promotes cultural, educational, and socio-economic development programs to assist refugees and immigrants in becoming self-sufficient and well-integrated members of their communities.