I have been honored over the years to have been associated with the volunteers and the refugee communities served by Iskashitaa.org, a locally based organization that supports refugees and their families in the Tucson area. They organize the harvesting of local produce, that would otherwise go unused, by picking fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods and farms in and around the city. They attend and volunteer for local farmer’s markets, as well as surplus markets such as Market On the Move, which dispense huge quantities of produce and other edible items that are mostly from Mexico. These items are sold to those who participate for a very reasonable donation of $10 for about 60 pounds. Everything that the refugees and volunteers harvest or acquire at these markets goes to the families who most need them in their community.
The organization also provides other services (some of which I have had the pleasure of volunteering for), such as English Language tutoring, swimming lessons, parenting and life skills, as well as connecting refugees with other resources throughout the community. Some of the refugees they serve come from countries such as Ethiopia, Sudan, Iraq, and Eritrea. Over 500 refugees have become part of the Tucson community since the beginning of this year alone!
Even if you are not part of the Tucson community, check out this organization…there are a lot of excellent ideas for self-sustainable community farming, products made by refugees that can be purchased at reasonable prices, and other valuable information and resources, especially if you work with immigrant and refugee populations within your own community. They are always looking for volunteers! I’m so happy to see grass-roots organizations such as this make such an impact across our nation. This is really what America is all about, after all. ~Peace