We were thrilled last Tuesday when US Senator Sheldon Whitehouse paid us a visit. He met each refugee staff member and trainee individually, shaking their hands and personally welcoming them to the state. What an inspiring experience for new Rhode Islanders. It seemed clear to our refugee staff and trainees that if a US senator would take time out of his busy schedule to visit us in our kitchen and extend a welcome, they must be doing something important. A good feeling.
The Senator sampled a Beautiful Bar and purchased some to take back with him for visitors to his office. Keith explained the process of recruiting and training PGP workers, the skills they learn, the confidence they gain and the overall impact for them as well as our supporters, Rhode Islanders, and Americans across the US, who are welcoming refugees by buying and eating PGP granola.
The next day, Sen. Whitehouse wrote on Facebook, “Enjoyed my visit to The Providence Granola Project yesterday. When refugees arrive in RI, this nonprofit provides them with work making great local food products and gives refugees the training they need to find their next job.” We're grateful to have that kind of support in getting the word out.
Sen. Whitehouse has a broad world view, Having grown up with a father who was in the foreign service, he is no stranger to international affairs, keeping track of the issues behind today’s refugee crises. In February, when he and Republican Sen. John McCain led a bipartisan delegation to the Munich Security Conference in Germany, he carved out time to talk to refugees, posting later on Facebook, “We stopped in Serbia to visit a processing and transport center for refugees fleeing conflict in the Middle East and Afghanistan.” If you’re on Facebook, you can see photos from that trip here.
We are truly fortunate having a senator with a grasp of global issues representing us in Rhode Island.
Caroline Ellis of SuzannesMomsBlog.com submitted this post.