NEW HAVEN, CT (WFSB) -- This weekend, thousands will take to the streets in New Haven to join the IRIS Run for Refugees.
It’s been roughly two years since President Donald Trump put forward his travel ban.
Since then, IRIS (Integrated Refugee and Immigrant Services) in New Haven said the interest in their annual Run for Refugees has continued to grow.
“In 2017 there was the travel ban and at that time that race went from 1,000, a sleepy little corner 5k to over 3,000-plus march, and that happened for a reason, because everybody in this region wanted to show refugees how much they care and how welcomed they are,” said Ann O’Brien, of IRIS.
Runners like, 93-year-old Herman Bershtein, has taken part in each Run for Refugees. For him, there is a deeper meaning.
“It’s a wonderful organization. My parents came from devastated Europe, were penniless. I know what these people are going through,” Bershtein said.
Local couple Aminah and Issa, refugees from Syria, will be cooking some food for the post-race party, which is expected to attract 3,500 runners.
They own a catering business.
“This business is not just for me, Aminah, for my family, our family. I have 3 children. I love my business,” Aminah said.
IRIS said registrations are up, but overall, donations are down. The run is the biggest fundraiser.
After running last year, Azhar will be cooking food for the post-race party.
She came to New Haven from Sudan, where she had a law degree. Her goal is to become a social worker.
For her and her little son Kutti, she says the race is much more than run.
“It’s very cold, early morning, weekend, but they came to help us. For me I am so, so happy. We are not alone here,” Azhar said.
The 5k run and walk steps off Sunday morning from Wilbur Cross High School at 10 a.m.
They’re will be a post-race party, with food from local restaurants, along with four refugee chefs.
For more information or to register, click here.