Wednesday, May 30, 2012



The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona generously donates diapers to refugees each month in partnership with Iskashitaa and the Amani Day Care Center!
Amani Learning & Day Care Center provides early childhood education and child care in a multilingual and multicultural environment.
Iskashitaa connects Amani to community resources and delivers diapers, hundreds of pounds of fresh produce, educational materials with the help of CWU, clothing, and occasional household items.
The Diaper Bank of Southern Arizona donates diapers to people of all ages. Donations of diapers are always welcome at the Diaper Bank of Arizona and of course are tax deductible.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Delicious Dining!

Iskashitaa could not have hoped for better company at this month's International Culture Night on April 20th. As we dined on food from around the world and enjoyed each others companionship, many people commented on the family that has developed through Iskashitaa.

Family is the only way to describe our multi-generational group. Each of the unique talents and experiences of our members make time together exceptional!

We can't thank you enough for the many ways that you support Iskashitaa's work. You aren't just volunteers, recipients, and supporters. You are our family and friends. We couldn't do it without you!

Monday, May 21, 2012

Garlic Harvest!

Join us May 12th for our 3rd annual Forever Young garlic harvest. Enjoy time in the sun, a picnic lunch, and getting a little dirty. Most refugees report that this is one of the best harvests of the year!

For more information, email

Friday, May 18, 2012

THREAD keeps it together

We need Thread! We need thread in all the colors of the rainbow (the more simple the better), in all shapes, and all sizes! Our sewing classes and independent tailors are running low. Without your help, we will have to use floss! Just kidding-- we won't use floss. But please contact us if you have thread you don't need!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Recipe of the Month: Grapefruit Yogurt Cake



1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

1 cup plain whole-milk yogurt

1 cup sugar

3 eggs

zest from 1 large grapefruit

1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease an 8 1/2 by 4 1/4 by 2 1/2-inch loaf pan. Line the bottom with parchment paper. Grease and flour the pan.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, and salt into 1 bowl. In another bowl, whisk together the yogurt, 1 cup sugar, the eggs, grapefruit zest, and vanilla. Slowly whisk the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. With a rubber spatula, fold the vegetable oil into the batter, making sure it's all incorporated.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50 minutes, or until a cake tester placed in the center of the loaf comes out clean.

For the glaze - mix powdered sugar and grapefruit juice until desired consistency is reached. Pour over the cake while it is still warm.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Partnerships for Understanding

Since January of 2012, Iskashitaa has partnered with Borderlinks to include refugee issues and sustainability into their work through service learning projects.

Iskashitaa has hosted over 80 Borderlinks participants. The most recent group was 29 participants from from Barrington, Rhode Island.

The Barrington group volunteered along side refugees cooking and harvesting. En route to the harvest, multilingual learning ensued as refugees taught the group words in their languages.

As the harvest ended, an excited 16 year old volunteer asked her leaders, "How can we make a program like Iskashitaa when we go home?... My parents have a garden, where can I donate what is left over?"

Serving with Iskashitaa is not only fun, but a great way to learn about refugees, sustainability, and local foods. To get your group involved, email

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Cooking Up a Storm

We had a fantastic day of cooking and harvesting this week. With two harvesting teams we were able to harvest almost 1500 pounds of grapefruit and oranges.

While two of the groups harvested with Lizbeth and Lori, I holed up in the wonderful kitchen at St. Francis with the rest of the volunteers. Our mission: to complete the preparation of a new round of food items, which have hit the showroom as these words hit the press!

Iskashitaa's signature 'Southwest Grapefruit Vinaigrette' and 'Desert Orange Dressing' are a part of our delicious lineup. You better be careful, as you may never look at your salad the same after you try these new products!

If you would like to purchase these delicious new creations, drop by the Tucson CSA or join us at an event above! To get your hands dirty in the kitchen, join us the second Thursday or Last Friday of each month. Email or sign up HERE!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Upcoming Events

Refugee 101 Information Night: May 10th (6:00 p.m. - 8:00 p.m.)
Come learn more about refugee life, communicating in different languages, and refugee work. Anyone who wants information can attend and attendance does not commit you to serve. The training is at St. Francis in the Foothills, 4625 E. River Rd. Please RSVP to

Summer Harvests: Thursdays and Fridays

Please contact Mike Parelskin (925-330-8775), if you are interested in harvesting grapefruit, calamondin limes, and other citrus. Check our Facebook page and our website for more details, or email for more information.

Food Workshops: 2nd Thursday and last Friday each month

Citrus juice, organic chutney, local marmalades, Nepalese pickled veggies, & more! Learn about new foods, techniques, and cross cultural traditions. Come for an hour come for half the day! If you are interested in volunteering please email

St. Francis Crafts' Market: 2nd and 4th Sundays (8:30- 11:30 a.m.)

Every second and fourth Sunday, our refugee made products are for sale at St. Francis in the Foothills, 4625 E. River Road. Come, browse, and buy our refugee-made crafts and local preserves! Recycled materials sewn, crocheted, and woven into great new rugs, bags, jewelry, baskets, and clothes.

Sewing Redistribution: May 4th (11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m.)

Moved to the Oasis Learning Center, 306 E. Navajo #1106

The generous donations of volunteers and friends of Iskashitaa have led to a VERY full storage shed and we want to get those donations back out to our refugee friends! As usual, we cannot do this without your help! Please RSVP online or send an email to Emily at We need volunteers to set up, help redistribute the supplies, and clean up.

Tucson CSA: Tuesdays and Wednesdays (4:00 p.m. - 7:00 p.m.)

Be part of the local food system. Know your farmer. Cook creatively. Eat healthily. Support local sustainable farming. Be kinder to your environment. Have fun and purchase Iskashitaa products such as orange marmalade, prickly pear syrup and pickled garlic all made from locally harvested foods! EVENT alternates Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Want to volunteer and make an Iskashitaa presence in the community? Register on our website or email Lizbeth at

Friday, May 4, 2012

Two people, Two friends

AgnesI arrive, open my trunk and start filling grocery bags with the fresh local food. Soon word spreads. I happily give the bags to refugees I know well and new arrivals. The new people stand out because they do not know about Iskashitaa Refugee Network yet. They wonder if they are going to get food. They look on with expectation.

Once the "old timers" have left, I make sure that I have bagged enough produce for the new families. I invite them to come and see the food. The food is welcomed or perhaps it's the friendship that matters. I ask their names and offer mine.

In recent months, there was always a young woman sitting on a curb alone and knitting. She never approached my car. I would turn in her direction and show her the food but she always smiled and shook her head. We bid farewell with a good-bye wave.

This week, our interactions changed. With one food bag left, I walked over to the young woman to look at her knitting. I sat down next to her and touched her work. It was done to perfection and I told her so. Finally I realized she was unable to hear me. She stood up and brought me to her apartment. She pointed to the AC/ heating unit. With both of us standing on kitchen chairs, I showed her how to use it and had her turn the knob to the off position herself. Apparently, she had not been able to communicate her dilemma to a friendly face and she slept in the cold for weeks.

We parted that day with many hugs. I marked the day I would come back on a calendar and she made sure I knew her apartment number. Two people...two totally different life experiences...two different continents...two people communicating, playing & laughing...the way friends do....two longer staring & waving good-bye to each other...two new friends.

By Sue Troutman

Do you or your family want to help redistribute food to families in need? Do you have a reliable vehicle and a time each month that you could come? You are perfect for us! Please contact us at

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Another Successful Redistribution!

On the first Friday of every month, Iskashitaa Refugee Network hosts a sewing and craft supply redistribution day where refugees can come and pick out their favorite fabrics, yarns, and clothing to take home or practice their native crafts.

April 6th was a particularly successful redistribution! 10 volunteers came and helped set up, organize fabrics and make sure everyone signed in! The extra hands made even the biggest jobs small!

Since we receive donated machines, we had prepared by determining whether or not they are working, fixing them, and then creating a list of the people who would like a machine.  People receiving a machine spend time at redistribution learning how to use the machine they will be taking home so they do not have problems at home.

One of our new sewing teachers, Judy and a refugee volunteer, Iswor showed each person how to use their machine. We were able to give out 5 sewing machines in one day!  We even had time to fix a few of the newly donated machines!

Along with handing out craft supplies and machines we had time to assist in a number of other areas.  We inventoried new craft items from refugees, talked with crafters about quality control, handed out newly harvested fruit, and organized new donations.

A big thanks to everyone who has donated to our program and to all the wonderful volunteers working for the Sewing and Crafts Circle. These events could not happen without you!

To help with the Iskashitaa Sewing and Crafts Circle by repairing machines, sharing your skills at a sewing class, or helping at a redistribution, email