As Syrians and other refugees arrive in St. Louis, volunteers prepare the way

As Syrian refugee Mohammed Khalid and his family were making their way to St. Louis on Tuesday, an apartment in the city’s West End neighborhood was being prepared for them.

Bill Patterson of Des Peres was snapping together bed frames. Alicia Bawa of St. Peters was wiping down counters and putting away silverware and plates in the kitchen.

Earlier in the day, Patterson and Bawa were at a Shop ‘n Save along with another volunteer, Annie Russell of Webster Groves, buying a day’s worth of groceries for four refugee families, all hours away from arriving. In addition to Khalid, his wife and their five children, three other families were about to land in St. Louis, from Syria, Sudan and Somalia.

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