Getting to know people in the CommUNITY

T-R PHOTO BY SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ With most people leading busy, hectic lives, Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown wanted to take the opportunity Sunday evening to gather folks together at the Anson Park Shelter to share food, fellowship and offer a chance to better get to know each other, at its annual CommUNITY potluck, which was free and open to the public. Attendees brought food to share with other folks in attendance. The event coincided with National Welcoming Week, an event led by Welcoming America, which is a non-profit, non-partisan group that supports diversity in communities.

With most people leading busy, hectic lives, Immigrant Allies of Marshalltown wanted to take the opportunity Sunday evening to gather folks together at the Anson Park Shelter to share food, fellowship and offer a chance to better get to know each other.

“It’s our annual CommUNITY potluck, and it’s an opportunity for everybody in the community to talk amongst themselves and to share,” Maria Gonzalez of Immigrant Allies said. “We’re all immigrants in this country – so it’s a great opportunity to figure out where some of our neighbors are from; normally we wouldn’t have those kind of conversations.”

Free and open to the public, attendees brought food to share with other folks in attendance.

The Marshalltown Public Library partnered with Immigrant Allies to bring a variety of children’s entertainers to the event, including Stanley the Therapy Dog with Pockets Full of Fun, professional face painters, balloon twisting, a magic show and stomp rockets. Music was provided by the Prairie Creek Strings Band.

Representatives from Justice For Our Neighbors (JFON), a non-profit organization that offers low-income immigrants free, high-quality immigration legal services, education and advocacy, were also on hand, as well as people who offered information on how to register to vote.

Lisa Laird of Pockets Full of Fun drove from Orange City to perform at the event.

“It’s a way to give back, especially to provide smiles for people who are in a bad place, and help them forget a little bit, and remind them we’re all here to encourage and to help lift them up,” Laird said. “I drove four hours for this; I did a show at the library, and Stanley read with some of the kids, and then we came out to this.”

The potluck coincided with National Welcoming Week, an event led by Welcoming America, which is a non-profit, non-partisan group that supports diversity in communities.

“I came because I always get involved with Immigrant Allies, because my personal belief is that immigrants are an integral part of our community, and that they truly make Marshalltown what it is, which is a great, diverse place,” attendee Grant Sincox said.

To learn more, visit www.facebook.com/ImmigrantAllies

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com