Each year on June 20th, the United Nations, United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR), and countless civic groups around the world host World Refugee Day events in order to draw the public’s attention to the millions of refugees worldwide who have been forced to flee their homes due to war, conflict, and persecution.

The annual commemoration is marked by a variety of events in more than 100 countries, involving government officials, humanitarian aid workers, celebrities, welcoming citizens, and refugees themselves. Here in Cleveland on Saturday, June 18, 2016, the community is celebrating the day with a special event organized by the Refugee Services Collaborative of Greater Cleveland (RSC). The RSC is a group of area organizations that have joined together to better serve the rising numbers of refugees resettling in Northeast Ohio – close to 1000 per year. Along with Global Cleveland, it includes the three Cuyahoga County refugee resettlement agencies – Migration Refugee Services of Catholic Charities, International Services Center, and US Together – and area school systems, healthcare providers, workforce groups, and faith-based organizations.

In honor of World Refugee Day, the RSC is hosting a community picnic on the beautiful shores of Lake Erie at the Edgewater Kite field. The picnic is a family-friendly event with games, authentic foods from around the world and more! The RSC welcomes its friends and neighbors to join in on Saturday, June 18 from 1 PM – 4 PM and to bring a dish to share and meet new friends. The RSC needs volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering – from set up and registration to leading games with children and serving delicious food – please contact Caroline Pillar at [email protected] or 216-991-6003.

The World Refugee Day picnic is presented by Community West Foundation with additional support from the Cleveland Foundation.