COLUMBIA - Staff of Refugee and Immigration Services held their World Refugee Day celebration Saturday.
"I think it's important to recognize what refugees have done and what they continue to do and have a day to celebrate their journeys," said Katie Freehling, the job developer and analyst at Refugee and Immigration Services.
The event was at Broadway Christian Church where more than 100 visitors are expected to celebrate the nationally recognized day. World Refugee Day was June 20 and the event is RIS's way of celebrating.
Freehling spent the morning at the farmer's market in Columbia talking to vendors and handing out fliers. She said her team has worked since May on this celebration for the community.
She said they planned to serve the main dinner at 8:30 p.m. to respect their visitors who are celebrating Ramadan. But there were appetizers, games, crafts, and musical performances for the celebration.
While Freehling didn't have an exact count of how many refugees are in Columbia, she did tell KOMU 8 News that there have been nearly 80 new refugees since September and the city averages more than 100 refugees a year. Refugee and Immigration Services has been in business for around 30 years.
"This is a time for us to come together and celebrate the refugees that we know and love, but it's also a time for community members to come and unite in a love for international culture," Freehling said.