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Creating a family garden in Richmond

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New volunteer Roberta Oster dove into the assignment of family mentor with no hesitation. She attended volunteer orientation and training just as the IRC in Richmond was welcoming a family of eight from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Hearing that the family spoke some French, Roberta requested to be a part of this family’s resettlement, as she is fluent in French.

The apartment complexes around greater Richmond who accept refugees resettled by IRC did not have any units that could accommodate Raymond Sungula, his wife, and six children who range in age from one year to 20 years old. Only a house would do.

And with a house comes a yard. And yard work, but also the benefits. Noticing the property needed some clean-up, Roberta got to work. While cutting the grass and clearing debris, she found a raised garden bed. After a trip to the garden shop, Roberta and the family got to work planting tomatoes, avocadoes, peppers, corn, and cabbage. The sprinklers weren’t just for watering the new plantings. The young kids got to beat the heat of July in Richmond the way many of us remember long, hot summer days – running through the sprinklers with glee.

Roberta and the Sungula family in their new garden.

Photo: Sharon Singer/IRC

Reflecting on their day of hard work together Roberta said, “It was a total joy to spend the day creating the garden with the family. I hope they’ll soon reap the benefits with fresh vegetables on the dinner table.”

If you are interested in becoming a family mentor in Richmond, please contact Sharon.Singer [at] rescue.org.