Soft Landing Hosts ‘Welcome Week’ For 30 Refugee Families From Four Countries
Soft Landing Missoula and the International Rescue Committee are organizing Missoula’s first annual Welcoming Week from September 15 – 24.
Together with many other organizations and communities across the country, the groups hope to inspire and celebrate welcoming refugees to the Missoula community.
Soft Landing founder Mary Poole outlined the progress the organization has made since its inception in just over a year.
“30 families have been resettled here in Missoula this year through the International Rescue Committee,” Poole said. “They opened an office a little over a year ago at our encouragement, and they have I believe around 117 people in 30 families. We have families from four different countries. They are Eritrea, the Congo, Syria and Iraq.”
Following a rally in March of 2016 that featured hundreds of sign-carrying supporters who marched down Higgins to Caras Park in support of Soft Landing, there was a small protest in front of the Missoula County Courthouse by many who were opposed to resettlement of Muslim families in Missoula. Poole said that kind of opposition no longer exists in Missoula.
“We still very much engage with people who have questions and concerns about resettlement, but in terms of organized protests of our work, that stopped long, long ago.”
Poole said anyone is welcome to join the Soft Landing movement to encourage refugee resettlement in Missoula.
“Our website is Soft Landing Missoula dot org, and all the information about Welcome Week is all there if you want to get involved, and we also have a Facebook page, as well as a volunteer specific page that we’ll send out to those who want to volunteer for these events.”