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Tallahassee will be welcoming more new neighbors from abroad in the coming year

 Faith Presbyterian Elder and Deacon Charlie Dodson welcomes those who attended the community meeting on expanding the community's capabliity to welcome and assist international refugees coming to Tallahassee.
Tom Flanigan
Faith Presbyterian Elder and Deacon Charlie Dodson welcomes those who attended the community meeting on expanding the community's capabliity to welcome and assist international refugees coming to Tallahassee.

The local chapter of International Rescue Committee held a community conversation and volunteer recruitment Sept. 18 at Tallahassee's Faith Presbyterian Church.

Tallahassee is expected to be the destination for hundreds of international refugee families in the coming year. That's prompted a push to find more local residents and organizations willing to help with the resettlement process.

Lots of Capital City residents, such as Kristin Barnett and her husband, have been helping the community's new neighbors. She says volunteers do as much — or as little — as is comfortable.

"We'll send out texts every so often with a need. Like, 'Hey, can we get someone to take someone to the grocery store today?' You sign up. You do it when you can; you ignore it when you can't," she said by way of explaining how her group of volunteers was set up to assist refugee families.

But, said Candace McKibben, pastor of Tallahassee Fellowship Church, it's a need that will get harder to ignore going forward.

"I think it's a good idea that we are prepared for this. And we know that 400 new refugees will be coming our way in the new year starting October 1st."

The community is now the home to nearly 300 refugees, most hailing from Afghanistan. Click here for information about how you can volunteer with the Tallahassee chapter of the International Rescue Committee.

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