ROANOKE, Va. – Offering Afghan refugees a warm welcome, Virginia Tech students organized a fundraiser Sunday to help families get back on their feet.
Fork in the Alley is donating 10% of its sales to help Afghan refugees start a new life in Roanoke.
Dave Trinkle, co-owner of the restaurant, said it was a no-brainer move to partner with Virginia Tech Refugee and Immigrant Medical Association to host the charity event.
“It’s a cause that’s very much needed,” he said. “It’s going to meet a real critical need here in the Roanoke Valley as we try to help settle the Afghan refugees, make them comfortable and help them adjust.”
Inside, a display of more than 50 pieces of art were also available for auction. A simple QR code scan and people were able to place a bid.
Luma Abunimer, a student leader of the college organization, said the money will help 50 Afghans in Roanoke acquire housing, food and healthcare.
“I think anybody can become a refugee at any time, she said. “It’s circumstance, right? And at the end of the day, we are all human beings and human beings deserve to have basic needs.”
As a first-generation American, Abunimer understands the unfamiliar environment the refugee families are facing.
Sarah Yosief is a child of refugees and jumped on the opportunity to help make a difference by partnering with Abunimer.
“We continue to support this environment that is very inclusive and just being aware of people with different backgrounds. Everyone has their own story to share, and I think it’s important to promote open ears and open arms to people who have special stories.”
The art auction will continue online until Tuesday.
The organization is accepting direct donations on Venmo @VTCRIMA.
All funds will go to Roanoke Refugee Partnership.