Breaking bread with refugees

(NBC News) PORTLAND, Ore. – Nothing brings us together quite like food. Saturday, there was plenty of it at the Eat with a Refugee and Immigrant lunch in Portland, Oregon.

“Portland, to me, is very welcoming, generous and I’ve got all the help I needed. Otherwise I wouldn’t be in this position today,” Volunteer Coordinator Som Subedi said.

Subedi started the event to connect refugees to their new community, because he knows how isolating it can be when rebuilding your life in a new country.

When he was just 5-years-old, Subedi was forced to leave his homeland of Bhutan because of his ethnicity and culture. He then spent the next two decades in a refugee camp in Nepal before coming here to Oregon in 2008.

“Because I was in camp for so long, I spent my life without hope of the future,” Subedi said. “So, I had to live my life and be self-sufficient and be part of the community.”

Now, he is helping other refugees be part of the community too by organizing community meals and fundraisers to welcome refugees and immigrants to Portland.

The U.S. overall, however, has become less welcoming to refugees in recent years.

For decades the U.S. led the world as the top country for refugee admissions. That’s no longer the case. The U.S. trailed the rest of the world in refugee resettlement in 2017 and 2018, according to the Pew Research Center.

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