Turkmenistan dinner being served to help North Hills family

Thursday, August 29, 2019 | 12:01 AM


The THRIVE Supper Club: An Evening in Turkmenistan will be held at North Hills Community Baptist Church in McCandless on Sept. 27, where guests can experience food from another culture while helping the ones serving it.

Rahim and Guzel from Turkmenistan, along with their daughter Yasmin, 2, will be cooking and serving food reflective of their home country from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and donations made will aid them as they continue to settle into a new country, said Pauline Spring, program coordinator of THRIVE.

The family is seeking asylum from religious persecution. As Christian converts in a Muslim country, they feared for their safety and arrived in the United States three years ago, said Spring. They now live in North Hills of Pittsburgh.

THRIVE is an interdenominational nonprofit that works with other churches and nonprofits in the northern Pittsburgh area to assist refugees and immigrants coming into the country, said Spring. The goal is for these people in the area to feel welcomed and help them get on their feet, she said.

This is done through E-Crowdsourcing and social media as well as events like this dinner.They also partner with Jewish Family and Community Services in Pittsburgh.

Spring said refugees and immigrants can lose government support after a 90-day period. And asylum seekers may not even qualify for government support.

“As Christians, we believe Jesus taught us to welcome the foreign stranger in our midst and to meet their needs, if there are any,” said Spring, adding THRIVE is a tangible representation of this belief.

Another purpose of these dinners is to educate and raise public awareness on the hardships these families and individuals are experiencing as they come into a new country, she said. They are also helping a woman from Cameroon who left because of tribal conflict and she feared for her life.

All the money raised goes to the families and individuals they are helping, minus the cost of food.

Along with their daughter who was born in the United States, Rahim and Guzel also are expecting another baby, said Spring who has been a teacher at Hampton School District for more than 20 years. She said Rahim is overworked as he cares for his family.

The Hampton resident teaches German so she already has some knowledge with world cultures. THRIVE members are hoping to have another Supper Club Dinner in November and in the spring.

The upcoming event includes Turkmenistan-style salad, main course, dessert and iced tea, lemonade or coffee.

Tickets can be purchased at www. thrivepittsburgh.org . A suggested donation is $26 per ticket, and must be purchased by Sept. 20. The church is located on Thompson Run Road.