Minneapolis unveils campaign to welcome new immigrants

  • Updated: October 21, 2010 - 11:54 PM

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It used to be that when new people moved into town, the neighbors would roll up to their doors with information and gifts to welcome them to the area.

On Thursday, Minneapolis city leaders announced they're launching a new version of the old welcome wagon to greet new immigrants.

Called "Hello Neighbor," the campaign starts next month.

WHAT IS IT?

Volunteers will visit homes of recent immigrants, offering handshakes and gift bags filled with prepaid calling cards, coupons, a refillable water bottle and information about city services.

"The main thing is to have that human connection of really showing up at people's doors and saying welcome," said Ahmed Muhumud, a city staffer involved in the campaign.

WHO'S IT FOR?

In the first year, city leaders say they hope to reach 500 households.

Volunteers will concentrate their door-knocking in neighborhoods with large numbers of East African immigrants.

Said Muhumud: "What we want is that our newer neighbors -- our future workforce and students -- pick up the same spirit and rich tradition of active and engaged community that Minneapolis is known for."

COST

A $100,000 grant from the Bush Foundation is funding the pilot phase, which is expected to last until June.

HOW TO JOIN THE WAGON

To become a volunteer greeter, contact Ahmed Muhumud in the city's neighborhood and community relations office at 612-673-2162 or Ahmed.Muhumud@ci.minneapolis.mn.us.

ALLIE SHAH

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