Volunteers create garden for Burmese immigrants

5/27/2013 8:45 AM
By Associated Press

WATERLOO, Iowa (AP) — A group of volunteers in Waterloo have worked together to create a community garden for Burmese immigrants.

The Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier reports (http://bit.ly/1aqJxY6 ) that City Council member Steve Schmitt headed the effort to find garden space for the immigrants.

David and Liz O'Malley donated a vacant lot for the garden, and on Thursday a group gathered for a dual blessing by the Rev. Ken Stecher and Burmese Minister John Lazum, both of Sacred Heart Catholic Church. Many of Waterloo's Burmese immigrants are members of the parish.

"I think most of them came from a rural background," Stecher said of his Burmese parishioners. "Maybe this will make America feel more like home, to be working the soil. Sometimes we get removed from the basics. I think this means an awful lot to them."

The garden is open to anyone, but 20 Burmese families already have signed up.

Lazum said his family will work a plot at the garden, where they plan to plant cilantro, green chiles, green onions, potatoes, tomatoes, eggplant, cabbage and broccoli.

"We want to say thank you to everyone," he said. "We are excited to have it all. We need it."

Liz O'Malley said and old church previously stood at the site but had to be demolished.

"It was heartbreaking when the church had to come down," she said. "I'm glad that something good is coming from that."

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Information from: Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier, http://www.wcfcourier.com


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