Operation Welcome promotes community, hospitality

by Maddie Robertson

Operation Welcome is reaching out to the refugee community for the second year in a row. The club, which was started last year by social studies and language teacher Mrs. Katy Salzman, has been working to improve the lives of families fleeing war-torn countries.

One of the club’s most recent activities involved preparing for the arrival of a refugee family from Afghanistan. “We contact LFS (Lutheran Family Services) and they look at their calendar and let us know which families are not yet sponsored,” Salzman said.Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 9.28.13 PM

On Oct. 11, the Zahiri family arrived in Omaha. Prior to their arrival, the Operation Welcome team and Creighton Prep students went to the Zahiri’s soon-to-be residence to move in furniture, food and other household supplies.

Core team member junior Jessica Robinson described moving in the new family as a humbling and gratifying experience. “To see where they’re going to live is so different from what I know. It’s nice to see that difference to know I helped,” Robinson said.

Though the club does not plan to move in any more families until spring, there are still other upcoming events that will directly benefit refugee families. “We have a bake sale planned in November. All the money goes towards our fleece blanket drive,” Robinson said.

Along with the fleece blankets club members will be making in December for refugee families, Operation Welcome is sponsoring a movie day and a speak event in January. In February, the club will eat dinner at a refugee-owned restaurant. The club also intends to get involved in an Omaha Public Schools Program that helps refugee children learn English. By helping settle families that have survived persecution, violence and homelessness,

Operation Welcome has truly lived up to its name. Still, the club asks for as much help as it can get to further assist the needs of refugee families. “I think people should join because so many more people need to become aware of the need to help refugee families,” Robinson said. As with their stance on refugees, the club feels the same with students interested in joining; the more the merrier.

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