Soup dinner benefits organization helping refugees in Charlottesville

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CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (NEWSPLEX) -- The African-American Heritage Center was full of delicious smells Tuesday night as hundreds of people attended a benefit dinner raising money for the International Neighbors of Charlottesville.

"We're a local nonprofit, and we work with the refugees and special immigrants that live here in Charlottesville," said Kari Miller, founder of International Neighbors.

Organizers say that they hope participants will think about refugees differently after the dinner.

"Well hopefully they will be leaving with a heightened appreciation of our community and how we have 4,000 refugee neighbors living in Charlottesville," said Miller.

The dinner was one large soup night. Many soups were donated from local restaurants, and others were homemade by different people. There was no admission fee, but organizers say they were hoping to reach $5,000 in donations.

"It will go directly towards our programs that help refugees learn English, how to drive, and will also go towards providing dental care," said Miller.

"We're very happy to live in Charlottesville. All the people there are nice, especially to me and my family," said Mohammad Tasleam, an Afghani refugee.

He says he came to Charlottesville two years ago with his five children and wife.

"At first it was really hard to support my family. Then I found International Neighbors, asked them to help, and they help me and they help my wife," said Tasleam.

By the end of the night, the benefit raised $14,749.

To help out the cause, click on the donation link in the Related Links box.

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