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Three events note World Refugee Day in Buffalo

Refugees have been and will continue to be crucial to Buffalo; Burmese, North African, Middle Eastern and other communities have enriched Buffalo's culture in areas such as business, art and food.

Several local organizations will host events to celebrate World Refugee Day - officially June 20 - over the course of the next 10 days.

First is a World Refugee Day Food Truck Rodeo, from 4 to 8 p.m. June 21 outside the Tri-Main Center (2495 Main St.), presented by Buffalo-Niagara Deaf Events and benefiting Deaf Access Services and Jewish Family Service.

Participating food trucks include Ru's Pierogi, Tuk Tea, GourmAsian Bistro, Chilly Billy's Ice Cream, Rudy's Kitchen and Sweet Melody's. Raffles, live music and face-painting are also features of the free event.

"Deaf Access Services has been developing a comprehensive program to support deaf refugees in Buffalo," said DAS director Pam Kefi, in a statement. "It wasn’t until we started our collaboration with Jewish Family Service Refugee Resettlement Program that we are really seeing this project take off. Together, we now assist over 18 new arrival refugees from countries such as Somalia, Sudan, Congo, Syria, Nepal and Burma."

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The International Institute of Buffalo will mark World Refugee Day at its inaugural "Eat the World" event that will take place 6 to 9 p.m. June 28 at the Institute (846 Delaware Ave.).

The Institute hopes to call attention to World Refugee Day and at the same time celebrate Buffalo’s diversity through the world's one common denominator – eating.

Food trucks highlighting international cuisine include Lloyd, Rolling Cannoli, Ru’s Pierogi and Thai Me Up. Community Beer Works and Coca Cola Buffalo Bottling will provide beverages, with entertainment by Deja2.

Tickets are $20 through June 27 ($25 day of the event), and include two beverage tickets. Guests can purchase the food of their choice from any of the participating food trucks who will return a portion of the evening’s proceeds to the Institute. Tickets may be purchased at iibuff.org.

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Another event celebrating WNY Refugee Day takes place July 1 at LaSalle Park. Volunteers are needed for a soccer tournament, kids activities and food service and clean up of the community meal.

Kids, adults, teen, community groups, church groups, etc., are encouraged to volunteer. Contact Shannon Linehan, WNY World Refugee Day volunteer at wrdwny@gmail.com.

If you would like to help run an activity for kids, or share a game, song or story, contact Sarah Richards-Desai at scrichar@buffalo.edu.

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