• New Haven
  • Philanthropy
  • Refugees
  • Tariq Farid Donations Tariq Farid Foundation

I recently had an opportunity to meet a few of the many refugees being helped by Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) in New Haven.

As someone who moved to the United States as a child, I know that making the transition to a new country can be very challenging. Thankfully, we had neighbors, teachers and others within the community who made us feel welcome and helped us learn the new customs, the language and other things we needed to know to become comfortable in our new home.

I know that not everyone who comes to this country is fortunate enough to have such a support group, however. And that is especially true of those who are refugees.

Refugees making the transition to life in the United States depend on organizations such as IRIS for help and guidance.

That’s why I welcomed the opportunity recently to renew my support of New Haven’s Integrated Refugee & Immigrant Services (IRIS) with a contribution from the Tariq Farid Foundation.

IRIS Executive Director Chris George and his team do a tremendous job each year of helping hundreds of refugees rebuild their lives in Connecticut.

In operation since 1982, IRIS assists as many as 500 men, women and children each year, including about 230 new arrivals. Most of the recent refugees have come from Iraq, Afghanistan, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Eritrea, Sudan and Colombia.

IRIS welcomes every refugee family to New Haven with a furnished and equipped apartment. In addition, Chris and his team provide English classes for adults, help enroll their kids in school, connect them to health care and help them find jobs. They also provide immigration legal services to help them reunite with family members left behind.

“We don’t have enough money to help them for very long,” Chris told me. “Our job is to help refugees get off to a good start.”

The federal government gives refugee agencies such as IRIS some funding, but Chris says that it is not enough, especially in a relatively expensive state like Connecticut.

As a result, the organization depends heavily on outside support.

“Without additional private funds – like the grant from the Tariq Farid Foundation – we would have to close down,” Chris told me.

There is another reason that support of IRIS is so close to my heart. My grandmother was a refugee and I know the struggles she and her family faced when forced to leave their home.

Now I am blessed to have an opportunity to help others in similar situations and I hope that others will join me in showing their support as well.

Likes Likes Created with Sketch. Dislikes(0)
  • American Dream
  • Edible Arrangements
  • franchisee
  • giving thanks
  • opportunity
  • Tariq Farid
  • Tariq Farid Donations Tariq Farid Foundation
  • Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is one of the holidays that holds a special meaning for me. I was just a child when my family moved to the United States and we arrived knowing very little about our new home and its customs. We hardly spoke the language, and we had little idea what the future held for each of us. We did, however, know that this was a land filled with unlimited opportunity.

Thinking back, I can only imagine how my parents must have struggled with the pressure of making such a decision as moving their young family across the world to a new land. But I am so thankful that they were willing to risk everything to create a better life for all of us.

I am also thankful for the compassionate teachers who took us under their wings to help make the transition easier and gave us such a great education.

I am thankful for my early bosses and mentors, who believed in me and taught me more about business than I could have ever learned in a classroom.

I am thankful for all of those who have played a part in the growth of my companies over the years, our dedicated management team and team members, our committed vendors and suppliers, our loyal customers and, of course, our passionate franchisees who are responsible for the success we have all enjoyed.

I am thankful that there are people who have dedicated their lives to helping those in need or in pain, and that my success in business has given me the chance to meet so many of them and help them in their efforts.

I am thankful for the men and women of our military, our veterans and our first responders who, on a daily basis, have been willing to sacrifice their own safety for ours.

Most of all, I am thankful for my wonderful and beautiful family, for their support and for their love.

With all of the daily pressures of life in the 21st Century, it is sometimes easy to become frustrated or disillusioned and to lose focus on what is really important. This Thanksgiving weekend, however, is a time when we can all pause and count our blessings. We really do have a lot to be thankful for.


Likes Likes Created with Sketch. Dislikes(0)