So many lessons about life can be taught in a garden. That was exactly our vision for the second year of the Migros Aid garden. The garden has been a real success despite all of the ways Covid-19 has been a challenge to all of us.
“Working in the garden this summer has helped us to communicate together and learn about the Bible.” says 17-year-old Severin Zaoro, a refugee from Cameroon.
Severin is one of six young people who immigrated to America as refugees in recent years and have been involved in Migros Aid. These students have worked in the Migros Aid garden over the summer on the west side of Indianapolis, giving two hours per week to care for the garden. The students are paid a small stipend for their summer job, working in pairs. The students were connected with an adult mentor who usually picked them up and provided encouragement, friendship, and teaching moments to the students each week.
Tina Swarens, a mentor to one of the girl’s groups, says, “I enjoyed getting to know the girls, seeing their enthusiasm to have a job and learning to garden. I’m grateful God brought us together.”
The community garden is located at the Westside Episcipocal Community Center where Migros Aid is one of the ministry partners using the facility.
Migros Aid board member, Tom Langerbartels, gave leadership to the garden and says, “The commitment of the volunteers and the regular participation of the immigrant students have been very encouraging. The relationships built while working in the garden have led to cultural, spiritual, ethical, and political discussions. It has really been a joy to watch how God is growing fruit in these young people as they work to grow fruit in the garden.”
Fifteen-year-old, Samacheya Tamang, says, “I have learned that doing the garden is really good. It also reminds me of my home country and plus I like doing watering so the garden can have more watered and gives them the energy to grow.”
We plan to do three things with the vegetables that grow this year: Distribute them to the refugee community, sell vegetables to anyone for our back to school fund, and give to the Storehouse food pantry.
Please contact us if you want to host a Migros Vegetable Stand in your community and help support the work of Migros Aid.
The other students who participated were Ajulu Ojulu, Pierre Kaskile, Anita Mawazo, and Naomi Salama.
Jan Woodall, Nick Myers, and Lydia Crain were also adult helpers and mentors to the students.