LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
To the Editor,
After two years of severely restricted pandemic travel, our international student summer workers have returned to Block Island in force. Our work force has been augmented this season by over 200 college students on a cultural exchange worker program that grants J-1 visas for summer employment in the United States. As ambassadors of good will, Harbor Church has partnered with our community to make these visitors feel welcome and to offer them a positive experience while they are with us. To this end, the International Student Center has opened its doors three days a week, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, summer workers can relax in our recreation room, where they can prepare home-cooked meals, watch TV, play pool, ping-pong and board games, or just hang out. Tuesday nights at 6:30 p.m., we serve a free meal provided by area restaurants or host families. At our first two dinners, we served over 65 meals each week, to young people from 16 different countries coming from as far away as Taiwan, and from the continents of Europe, Asia, South America, and Africa.
This work is made possible through volunteers, private gifts, a generous grant by the Roosa Fund, and meal donations by friends from The 1661 Inn, Harborside and Ballard’s Resort. Other island employers will also be providing dinners over the course of the season. In the past, we have heard from many former student workers after they return home to their countries of origin, and the ripple effects of the love we’ve shown them have literally been felt around the world! We offer our sincere thanks to the whole community for partnering with us in this worthwhile initiative.
Pastor Peter Preiser