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Community rallies together to help refugees

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LANCASTER, Pa.-- A refugee community garden is mistakenly harvested. People in the Lancaster community came together to replenish what was lost.

The gardens are located behind Reynolds Middle School. They serve about 7 families. The garden is divided into plots for each family to maintain.

"In an urban setting, where they might live in an apartment and not have access to outdoor space, this is really nice," Josh McManness, who is with the group that manages the gardens. "A lot of our refugees come from agricultural backgrounds."

According to McManness, a couple people mistakenly thought the gardens were open to the public and took the food.

"We were surprised," he said. "This has never happened before."

A Facebook post was put up, asking the community to help replenish what was lost.

"The teachers' union saw it on Facebook," Lancaster School District Teachers' Union President Jason Molloy said. "Right away, the person who saw it contacted me and said, 'well, what can we do for these people?'"

The teachers' union bought enough produce to support three of the refugee families.

"We felt this is our district. These are our kids in the schools. The families are part of our families," Molloy said.

Other groups and community members in the area also stepped up to help the families.

"I think the community's response went above and beyond what we had hoped," McManness said. "There was definitely a silver lining in all this."

He said the families should be able to harvest some of the produce soon.

"I'm hopeful, especially seeing how many green vegetables there are on the plants," he said.

McManness said they plan to put up signs to avoid another mishap with the gardens.