Boise pastor talks about refugee garden thefts
A Boise church now has more than enough money to build a fence around a garden, cultivated by refugee families, that was hit by thieves twice in less than a week.
With about $4,500 in donations, Hillview United Methodist Church has scheduled a barbecue party to begin building the fence, paint the garden shed and sign, and celebrate all the support they’ve received.
“This is building community,” Pastor Brenda Sene told the Statesman Tuesday. “That’s the best thing to come out of this.”
All are welcome to help put the fence posts in the ground Saturday, Sept. 7, and/or partake in the barbecue. Hot dogs, buns and lemonade will be provided; side dishes or other snacks are welcome. The fence work begins at 9 a.m., with coffee and tea provided. The BBQ lunch will begin around 11:30 a.m.
“There are a lot of posts going in,” said Sene. Boy Scouts have offered to finish off the fence later; the concrete poured with the posts on Saturday will need time to set, she said.
Volunteers with the Boise Bicycle Project will bring their mobile bike repair unit to the barbecue to assist the refugees with any needed bicycle repairs for refugees.
The $4,500 that was raised will be used to improve security in the large vegetable garden behind the church at 8525 W. Ustick Road, such as installing upgraded cameras.
Sene said donations included a check that arrived Tuesday from Montana. Supporters have also sent shipments of seeds and gardening supplies via Amazon.com, she said.
“We had four big boxes delivered today,” Sene said Tuesday. “They were filled with blue buckets, bags of rice, seeds and little planters used to plant the seeds this winter and spring, and potting soil.”
She said so many had been generous in helping, including ACE Hardware in Eagle. The store is selling the materials for a 6-foot chain link fence at cost, Sene said. The fenced garden area will expand to include ground that isn’t currently being cultivated, and a sod cutter will be rented to dig up that area.
Boise police are investigating the thefts from the garden. Sene said one officer picked up a disk with video of the first theft, and a second one toured the garden to get more information about the loss.
The community is invited to donate items to a rummage sale at the church that will run from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 14. Sale-goers are encouraged to donate what they think items are worth, Sene said. Those who don’t have money to donate, but need items, can take them free of charge.