By Karen Morfitt
DENVER (CBS4) – Hundreds of people came together on Monday night for Colorado refugees.
More than 100 people volunteered to serve a Thanksgiving meal that would be the first for many of the refugees.
For more than a decade, the ECDC African Community Center has been hosting a community potluck welcoming Colorado’s newly arriving refugees.
Omar and his family arrived from Syria at the beginning of the year.
“The people in America are so beautiful,” he said.
Melissa Theesen is the managing director of the organization. She says the goal is, “just to simply make friends and be together.”
This year, they will serve more than 800 people from more than a dozen countries.
Some of the refugees and their families are still settling in, some arriving in Colorado less than a month ago.
“We had been in Afghanistan with the armies; with U.S. Troops, so when we came here we found that this land is a good land,” one refuge said.
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For Omar, the months spent in Colorado have been full of change.
With the help of ACC, he’s learning the language and turned passion into work, sewing ties and bow ties.
“I make them,” he said, “I like my job.”
By the end of the night regardless of background, everyone leaves with one more thing to be thankful for, “I have Miss Layla here and my wife and new friends.”
The ECDC African Community Center is a branch of the Ethiopian Community Development Council, which is authorized by the Department of State to resettle refuges in the U.S.
So far this year, they have helped 581 new community members resettle.
Karen Morfitt joined the CBS4 team as a reporter in 2013. She covers a variety of stories in and around the Denver metro area. Connect with her on Facebook, follow her on Twitter @karenmorfitt or email her tips.