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Plutarch for Refugees benefit Harvest Fest
October 15, 2022 @ 12:00 pm - 4:00 pm
Can some delicious, authentic Afghani food, free pony rides, pumpkin decorating, a scavenger hunt, applesauce and cider making, live music and a silent auction of artwork by local artists help shape the welcome our community provides to a refugee family from Afghanistan?
That is exactly what will happen at the Plutarch for Refugees Harvest Fest on Saturday, October 15 from noon to 4 p.m. at 10 Horse Art Center at 67 Black Creek Road in Highland. All proceeds from donations and food sales will go directly to giving a soon-to-arrive family of seven, with five children ages 8-17, a new start in our community.
Homayon Azizyar understands exactly what this family is facing. After a harrowing journey with his wife and three children from his homeland through Mexico, they arrived in New Paltz last March with the direct help of Robert Sabuda, who runs 10 Horse Art Center, where the festival will be held.
“We were in a very bad situation, with no food, no shelter, no boots for the winter,” said Azizyar, who left his parents, other family members, and a thriving IT business behind when the country fell to the Taliban last August. “Now we’re part of the community helping others.”
Other Afghani families have already resettled in our neighborhoods, also without the assistance of federal or state agencies but with the on-the-ground support of local residents. These vulnerable and traumatized men, women and children have few English language skills and require everything from housing, rent and furniture to transportation, clothing, and help with documentation for school, social services, and more.
That’s where the Harvest Fest comes in.
Organized by a group of local residents as Plutarch for Refugees, a 501c3, the festival will raise a good portion of the funds the family will need while the father, an educator in Afghanistan, and the older high school and college children, find work.
“It’s an enormous commitment and we have to stretch ourselves to meet the urgency of the situation, to accommodate and understand what they need to rebuild their lives,” said Sabuda, who will delight festivalgoers with his talents as an award-winning creator of intricate and artistic children’s pop-up books during the festival.
To date, the group has located a home and many of the furnishings and has raised some of the money that the family to establish itself.
“There are other groups doing similar work, like New Paltz for Refugees, but they’re stretched to capacity, so we had to jump in,” Sabuda explained.
Donate what you can directly at www.plutarch4refugees.org and learn more on Facebook at Plutarch for Refugees; or Instagram @Plutarch4Refugees.