FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
January 22, 2013
SunCoast Region Communications Director
New Year Brings Promise to Tampa Refugee Community
Helped Through Operation Santa Cause
TAMPA - The Department of Children and Families “Operation Santa Cause” campaign successfully matched community support with more than two dozen specific needs around the state. In Tampa two of our wishes were met within our refugee community. A single parent refugee from the war torn Democratic Republic of the Congo, Chance Bungilila needed to move from a filthy, crime-ridden apartment complex to a rented house in a decent neighborhood. Through the combined generous donations from Tallahassee business leaders and members of the Tampa Bay community, $2,600 was raised to help this family move after the holidays.
The second wish was fulfilled with a $300 donation to the Tampa Bay Gardens, which is literally helping newly arrived refugees put down roots in their new community. The Garden began with the goal of helping Burmese refugees to grow fresh fruits and vegetables that they may not find or be able to afford here in the local grocery stores. Two years into the project, The Tampa Bay Gardens now also include a free range chicken coop and goat farm and will add a fish pond in 2013. The founder of this unique project is a former refugee himself, Berhanu Bekele, from Ethiopia who recently won the Human Rights Award from the Hillsborough Human Rights Council.
If you are interested in following the Bungilila family through their move or visiting the Rev Bekele and his refugee garden please contact, Terri Durdaller at (813) 917-7570 to set up a date.