We come alongside Refugee families and offer holistic support as friends. We do this because we believe it is right. But we also do it because we know that Refugees enrich our community. Even better, we know that Refugees are often the ones who are best positioned to make their communities flourish. 

Elizabeth Say was a perfect example of why. She was a member of the Karen people and came to the U.S. from Myanmar.  Even though she knew very little English, despite taking many classes, she did have an apt English name for herself — “Mother Garden.” 

She grew plants and food wherever she could. Containers filled her apartment balcony. She cultivated every inch of her plot of the Jolly Avenue Garden. One of our staff members says it was the most productive garden she has ever seen. 

Elizabeth grew, and she wanted to share it. When she arrived in the U.S., she promised God she would show her gratitude for the family’s safety by hosting a community feast every 3 months. For years, that’s exactly what she did. Every season, she and her family would spend all night preparing an elaborate banquet. Then, Anywhere from 20 – 50 people would gather in her apartment to celebrate! They would savor the delicious food, sing songs together, and share laughs. Her dinners were a highlight for years. 

While Elizabeth passed away unexpectedly in 2020, her legacy lives on. She created flourishing in her community, just like so many of the Refugees we work with. 

At Friends of Refugees, we have the honor of coming alongside women like Elizabeth. All we provided was access to a plot at the Jolly Avenue Garden, a few classes in growing container plants, and support getting connected to others like her. From there, she nurtured dozens of people in body and spirit. 

Every time we come alongside a Refugee friend, we see dozens more people reap the benefit. That means 2022 will be a big year. You may recall that the U.S. has dramatically increased the number of Refugees who it will resettle next year. We want to be ready to welcome these new friends! 

Will you join us? It takes about $415 to offer a woman like Elizabeth holistic, wraparound support.  Your gift goes towards our initiatives in health, education, and employment for six months.

Will you move forward with these incredible friends? We see time and time again that Refugees are catalysts for abundant life. Let’s create flourishing communities together!

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