Friends and organizers of the soup house will partner this spring with Lutheran Services in Iowa to cultivate relationships among community volunteers and refugees from Burma, Burundi, and Bhutan.
Jane Scanlon, an LSI volunteer who made an appearance at soup night on Wednesday, said the nonprofit organization’s community garden program is intended to help families that were torn from their homelands return to their agrarian roots.
Hundreds of refugees have resettled within miles of Drake University, Jane said, noting that LSI wants to help them make connections in Central Des Moines as they learn to farm on American soil.
On April 16, up to 11 families and nearly a dozen volunteers are expected to attend an informational and planning meeting at Lone Tree Garden, 1160 Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway, where six plots have been reserved for spring planting.
With a focus on sustainability and community, volunteers will act as liaisons between refugees and LSI, as they encounter new people, encourage new friends and harvest new relationships.
“For me, working with refugees has been like traveling around the world without leaving Des Moines,” Jane said.