Hundreds gather at annual Dallas Refugee Thanksgiving

- Hundreds of North Texas refugees enjoyed a full Thanksgiving meal with all the fixings thanks to the largest refugee ministry in the area.

What started in the home of a woman who came to America as a refugee has now become the largest refugee ministry in North Texas

The 6th annual meal was served Saint John's Episcopal Church in Lake Highlands, although there was nothing traditional about the 300 people who gathered there.

“They have gone through things we cannot even imagine. They are really brave people,” said Gateway of Grace Executive Director Dr. Samira Izadi Page. “They survived torture. They have survived the loss of their loved ones. They have survived the loss of their homes — everything they knew and everything they had.

The annual tradition was started seven years ago by Dr. Page, a refugee herself nearly two decades ago

“Holidays were extremely difficult for us because we see all the gift-givings and celebrations and party goings,” she explained. “And we had nowhere to go. Ee didn’t know what was going on. We had no money to buy even a pie.”

Masouda Nooristani and her family fled Afghanistan and arrived in Dallas eight months ago. Her husband for four years served as translator to the U.S. military in Kabul

“Living here is better than in our country in Afghanistan. The situation wasn’t good for us,” she said. “Right now, I’m feeling so happy. I meet so many good people, America good people. So, it’s good for me also. I want to tell you happy Thanksgiving to all American people.”

Last year, Texas received 11 percent of all refugees to the U.S., more than any other state. They come from 44 different countries.

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