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Love transcends barriers for Afghan refugee families


Transcending the language differences, the cultural differences, and the religious differences, one uniting element was apparent in the bustling dining room at Afghan Kabob Sunday.


“God’s love,” said Susie Reeder, minister of missions and education at Snyder Memorial Baptist Church.

Reeder and the Snyder congregation are among the many who have chipped in to make Fayetteville feel like home for Afghan refugee families. The families were brought to the United States through Task Force Pineapple, an initiative started by a volunteer group of U.S. veterans following the Taliban’s takeover of Afghanistan in August.

"We decided to go into our mission house and clean it all out," Reeder said. "We put in bunk beds for the kids, new flooring, just updated the house We put together a little team of people to help. It's been one thing after another."

Reeder said Dr. Skipper Smith, for instance, volunteered to take care of the family's dental needs. Robert Barefoot, former director of parks and recreation, helped clean out the house and now takes the older children to Vanstory Hills Elementary School each morning. Sunday's gathering at Afghan Kabob was intended as a time of fellowship for other Afghan families living in Fayetteville, but also as a way to inform others.

"Our big thing is we need housing and jobs," Reeder said. "Affordable housing."

Left to right, Zikrullah, Asra, 2; Somaya, 6; Robert Barefoot; Hosna, 4; Susie Reeder; and Zabihullah, 9, enjoy supper at Afghan Kabob Sunday.