Cynthia Zavala, left, and Hashi, are volunteers at the Pelican Rapids Resources Center–both ready to assist in Somali and Spanish languages.
Volunteer Abdulahi Hashi, above left, assisting Ahmed Barra with some documents at the Multicultural Resource Center.

Bi-lingual volunteers include Hashi, Zavala, Honer 

Do you have trouble filling out forms? 

Deciphering your bills? Understanding government documents? 

Every new immigrant to the United States faces these same challenges. Pelican Rapids has been a destination for immigrants since the 1860s when the first Caucasians arrived. Most immigrants come knowing no one except their own family. 

They often don’t speak English. Some come from situations of dire poverty. Many are unfamiliar with American customs and way of life.

Through the generations, the people of Pelican have reached out their hands to help. In recent years, West Mill Street has become an organizational focus of that effort. The Pass It On shop, the Food Shelf, The Welcome Place, the Pool Hall, the Public Library, and the Multicultural Resource Center all offer help of various kinds to the community.

The Multicultural Resource Center has been staffed by one volunteer for the last half dozen years. The rent and utilities were paid for with donations from area churches, the Somali community, and local foundations.  In the past month, the Pelican Rapids Multicultural Committee, with help from the West Central Initiative Fund, has designed an experimental program to increase the services that the Multicultural Resource Center can offer. 

Donations this fall allowed the Multicultural Committee to hire part time staff and offer expanded hours and services at the Center.  Cynthia Zavala speaks Spanish, English and a little Somali. Barbara Honer speaks English and Spanish. Abdulahi Hashi speaks English and Somali.  

One of them will be in the Multicultural Resource Center on Tuesdays, from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., Wednesdays from noon until 3 p.m., Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.  

They will help anyone who comes through the door at 31 West Mill Street with: language translation, job applications (either on paper or on computer), forms for county and government programs, phone calls and computer help. They can also notarize documents.

The three coordinators of the Multicultural Resource Center will also do outreach into the Pelican community – helping with health fairs, the census effort, and Friendship Festival 2020. 

The Multicultural Committee has applied for and will continue to apply for operating grants for future operations.

A multicultural society is defined as  people with different nationalities, languages, religions and ethnicities living together.  Pelican Rapids is a multicultural city.  

The Multicultural Resource Center is designed to help all the people of Pelican Rapids. Are you having trouble filling out forms? Deciphering your bills? Understanding government documents?  It doesn’t matter if the problem is lack of English skills, fuzzy vision or a natural dislike of  forms, all are welcome at the  Multicultural Resource Center.  Stop by during office hours to say hello, or for help.

Multicultural Resource Center will be open for assistance in English, Spanish and Somali: 

Tuesdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. 

Wednesdays from noon until 3 p.m. 

Thursdays from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.  

Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.