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Refugee families honored in Syracuse at holiday week celebration

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand hands out clothes and gifts to refugee families in Syracuse
Jessica Cain
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand hands out clothes and gifts to refugee families in Syracuse

Three refugee families are learning more about Thanksgiving this week at InterFaith Works in Syracuse.

The organization is honoring them with baskets filled with toys, clothes, and household goods as part of the week of gratitude and grateful giving.

Serhii and Vita Vlasiulk came to Syracuse from Ukraine four months ago to escape the country’s violence and build a better life for their four children.

Through a translator, Serhii told us how grateful he is for all of the help he has received from the community.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand was on hand at the celebration to welcome the families and pass out the baskets.

"In these holiday times, it's really important to help those most in need, and most who need our support and our generosity," she said.

InterFaith Works President and CEO Beth Broadway said it’s a busy time, with refugees arriving from a number of countries including Ukraine, Afghanistan, Syria, Somalia, and Sudan.

"Thanksgiving week gives us a chance to be grateful for their safety, grateful that they're coming and making our community stronger and better, and grateful to our community that helps us do this work,” said Broadway.

Broadway said she expects the need for that work will continue to be high as more refugees arrive in the coming months.

Jessica Cain is a freelance reporter for WRVO, covering issues around central New York. Most recently, Jessica was a package producer at Fox News in New York City, where she worked on major news events, including the 2016 presidential conventions and election. Prior to that, she worked as a reporter and anchor for multiple media outlets in central and northern New York. A Camillus native, Jessica enjoys exploring the outdoors with her daughters, going to the theater, playing the piano, and reading.