9 January

Refugee Help: Jacket for Sifa, Boots For Kids, Calling Karen and Jodi, Retreats

by Jon Katz
Refugee Notes

I wanted to pass along to some of you very good people various things about the refugees and our plans to support them. There’s a lot happening and i want to keep everyone informed, insofar as possible.

First, I ordered a new winter jacket for Sifa, and got her a sweater an scarf.  I didn’t find anything suitable in my thrift shops, and Rifa, who has eight children, has no good jacket to wear in this difficult winter. She’ll have it by Friday. I got a good one, a Columbia jacket.

Sifa has been in the United States for four or five months, she was in a U.N. refugee camp for 20 years, her first husband died in the camp, her second is trying to get a visa to come and join his family. It is an uphill struggle for him.

Sunday, at the refugee kids festival in Albany, I’m bringing Ali $200 so he can take three of Sifa’s kids out to buy snow boots. We thought that was better than buying them online.

We gave one of the RISSE kids $70 to buy a special white jacket and shoes so she can dance in the refugee festival on Sunday. Otherwise, she would have stood out as the only kid without the right outfit.

We are sponsoring a two-day retreat for the 14 members of the RISSE soccer team at Pompanuck Farm over the Martin Luther King weekend. I’m going to buy three sleds and a couple of sleeping bags.

Someone from Ohio sent a box of wood carving tools for Maulidi, I’ll see him this weekend, and he may have more carvings to sell. I got a huge box of waterproof socks from Kansas today in my P.O. Box, they’re on the way to RISSE.

Cheryl Lasher of RISSE asked me to try to contact Karen and Jodi, followers of my blog for many years, they sent a lot of much-needed winter clothing to RISSE, (including a pink jacket) and RISSE is eager to thank them.

I remember Karen, her beloved nephew Jenson died six years ago, and she and Jodi  gave this generous gift in his memory. Karen, if you see this please contact me at jon@bedlamfarm.com or Cheryl Lasher at RISSE, 715 Morris Street, Albany, N.Y., 12208.

“This expression of love is what the Army Of Good and RISSE are all about,” said Cheryl in a message to me. “I don’t want these women to feel unappreciated or their nephew unrecognized….” I told Cheryl most members of the Army Of Good never tell me what they have done or given, they seem to want nothing more than the joy of being generous and helping.

I know or hear from very few of them directly, yet we seem to be very close to one another.

If you are comfortable doing so, Karen, let me or Cheryl know how to get in touch with you. You deserve some thanks.

On the Mansion side, we are sponsoring a Valentine’s Day lunch with lasagna and a cake and cookies. Our sleigh ride is postponed until warmer weather. For the moment, everyone has the clothes they need.

And we have finished the first leg of the indoor Geranium Garden. We’ll be putting together another tray next week.

Good stuff, and thanks for your support. Next month, we will bring groceries to another refugee family that needs support. The winter clothing drive was very successful, they always need socks and shoes and boots for kids – 714 Morris Street, Albany, N.Y., 12208.

If you wish to contribute to this work, you can do so by sending a donation to Jon Katz, P.O. Box 205, Cambridge, N.Y., or via Paypal, jon@bedlamfarm.com. And thank you. All donations are sept in a separate bank account and overseen by a bookkeeper and a certified professional accountant.


  1. Sometimes the joy of doing good is all the thanks you need..but I hope that Karen & Jodi at least see your post & know how much they are appreciated. Bles each & every one of those who have helped.

    I look forward to seeing pictures of the Indoor Geranium Garden, what a great idea!

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