Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden

Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden

This is our third year for the Migros Aid garden. Each year it has grown and expanded, impacting more people.

We have had a couple of work days this year and plan to have more before planting in early May. We will employe 6-8 young people to work in the garden this summer and exploring ways to participate in a local farmers market.

In 2020, we grew 940 pounds of produce for the community. We hope that in 2021 we can increase this to help provide food to more people.

Continue reading “Getting Prepared for the 2021 Garden”

Eagle church of Whitestown helps provide 60+ Gift Baskets to refugee families over christmas

Eagle church of Whitestown helps provide 60+ Gift Baskets to refugee families over christmas

The Christmas season was a challenge to many refugee families during a global pandemic. Thanks to Eagle Church for their help in putting together 60+ gift baskets. The baskets included practical items such as laundry detergent, socks, tooth brushes, soap, tooth paste, etc.

The gifts were practical and helpful for families. This outreach provided a practical way to show God’s love in action and remind people of the meaning of Christmas.

WHEN THE BODY OF CHRIST COMES TOGETHER DURING CHRISTMAS

WHEN THE BODY OF CHRIST COMES TOGETHER DURING CHRISTMAS

Throughout this year of a global pandemic, many have struggled to stay employed and pay rent- facing the real possibility of eviction. The immigrant, refugee communities comprise nearly 10% of the population of Marion County. So many in this population do not have other family members nearby or support systems like other Hoosiers.

Migros Aid, Inc. works with refugees throughout the city and has been serving a Muslim family who fled Syria and who have been in America since 2017. Their family of 7 live in a 3-bedroom apartment and nearly faced eviction due to COVID-19 and not being able to work in December.

Through the generosity of the Episcopal Diocese of Indianapolis, St. George’s Orthodox Christian Church, one individual, and Migros Aid, their December rent was paid. and help with their utility bills was provided.

When the body of Christ comes together to help and serve the least of these in our community, it is a beautiful thing and displays to the world what the church is all about.

School Supplies Provided for 110 Students

School Supplies Provided for 110 Students

Going back to school has looked different this year, but students are now returning to the classroom, some on a hybrid schedule. Thank you to everyone who made this happen! We are very appreciative of those who helped provided pencils, paper, notebooks, crayons, calculators, masks, and other supplies needed for the children we serve to have a good start back to school.

Reusable bags were provided by the Trader Joe’s on West 86th street to hold the supplies, as well as paper grocery sacks from local Kroger stores. Several volunteers met on a Thursday night to sort and prepare the supplies for distribution.

We were able to provide school supplies for 110 students. They were excited to receive the school supplies, and we hope they have a great start back to in-person school!

949 pounds of vegetables distributed for free in 2020

949 pounds of vegetables distributed for free in 2020

The Migros Aid Garden of 2020 has been a huge success in many ways. The garden is over and cleaned out for 2021! There were 53 volunteers involved in Garden work this year, from planting to harvesting to cleaning the garden. We added some new garden beds for a total of 36 raised beds. We grew and harvested 949 pounds of produce, including a variety of tomatoes, okra, eggplant, beans, and more. All of the produce was distributed (free of charge) to the refugee and immigrant community.

Over the summer we employed 6 teens who came each week to tend the garden in pairs, along with volunteer mentors. As a result of these relationships, 2 small group Bible studies were born and are still going.

The 2020 harvest is over, but the garden beds have been cleaned and are ready for 2021!

Over 1,000 Masks Sewn and Donated to the Community by Refugees in Indianapolis

Over 1,000 Masks Sewn and Donated to the Community by Refugees in Indianapolis

When the pandemic first began in early 2020 and the city was mostly shut down, masks were needed for medical workers because of the shortage of supplies. Volunteers for Migros Aid donated fabric, sewing machines, supplies, and time so that refugees could learn to sew masks. Some of them had never used a sewing machine before while others had experience sewing. The Mon sisters, who are immigrants themselves and trained seamstresses, volunteered their time to help train those who were interested in sewing.

The 1,000+ masks that were made have been given out to the the refugee community, who lacked the resources to purchase masks early on during the pandemic. Masks were also given to several other groups who faced shortages of masks early on during the pandemic.

Earbuds Provided for students for Online school

Earbuds Provided for students for Online school

Students in IPS started the school year virtually in August. While the schools provided computers and tablets for students to be able to connect with their teachers from home, many of them did not have headphones. Teachers we spoke to said that it would be very helpful for them to wear headphones or earphones (with a microphone) to cut down on background noise. We were able to distribute these to the community and the kids were very excited to use them.

Teaching Life Lessons in a Garden

Teaching Life Lessons in a Garden

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.

Summer Camping Trips for Young Refugees

Summer Camping Trips for Young Refugees

The chance to drive for an hour away from the city is a big deal for many young immigrants.      This summer we have been able to take students on camping and hiking trips where stories are told and memories are created that will be remembered for a lifetime.   For many of these young people, it is their first experience of camping in America.

Please click hereto help support more trips like these

Diapers provided to the Community

Diapers provided to the Community

Diapers can be a challenge to obtain for low income families because they cannot be obtained through SNAP (food stamps) or WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children).    

During Covid-19, many refugees have lost work and have found themselves in a hard situation.   

We are grateful to the  Indiana Diaper Bank and their donation to of diapers to Migros Aid to distribute within the immigrant, refuge community.   

The Indiana Diaper Bank is an organization whose mission is to provide diapers to low-income families. We received various sizes of diapers, as well as wipes and diaper cream, and were able to distribute them to some refugee families in the community.