March 2018 Newsletter

In this issue:
  • Gardening Program
  • Behind the Wheel
  • Summer Picnic
  • Freeze for Food Recap
  • Donations
"3rd Wednesday" General Meeting
March 21, 7:00-8:30 pm
St. Mark's Lutheran Church
605 Spruce St, Madison, 53715

Want to get involved?
Come and find out how you can!
Help Cultivate Our Gardening Program

This spring, we’re launching a gardening program to give refugees a low-cost way of obtaining high-quality foods, and perhaps an opportunity to grow traditional foods that they can’t buy locally.
We’re collaborating with managers of the Marlborough community gardens on Madison's south side and Troy community gardens on the north side to secure space. To get started, we're aiming to reserve four plots at each of these gardens.

Open Doors For Refugees will cover most of the costs for renting plots and buying seeds and tools.

Get involved: We're seeking volunteers to help the refugees get their gardens in. Anyone who has a little time, energy, and gardening experience, and would be willing to help, may contact us at .

We are also seeking someone to assist Sarah Janes Ugoretz, who has generously agreed to help manage the Garden Program. Sarah brings a great amount of gardening experience, skills and enthusiasm to the project.  Anyone who would be willing to give her a helping hand can email us at
Getting Behind the Wheel

Open Doors has an Education Assistance program that pays half the costs (within limits) of trainings, classes, certifications, etc that help refugees become more self-sufficient.  
So far this program has been used most frequently by women who are learning to drive for the first time (in winter no less).  We’re delighted to see so many folks adopt a new skill such a this that can so enrich and empower their lives.
Summer Picnic...
...Fun in the Sun

The third Open Annual Community Picnic will be on Sunday, June 24, noon to 4:00 at the Olin Park Shelter, and preparations for it are underway! 

Last year about 400 people joined in for an incredible international potluck, great entertainment, wonderful conversations and nonstop games and activities for the kids.  We're planning similar activities and gearing up for a similar turnout this year.  To help it go well, the Events Team is seeking volunteers to help with:
  • Coordinating food and beverage donations
  • Organizing kids’ activities and games
  • Finding groups to provide musical and other entertainment 
  • Help setup, run and cleanup on the day of the event.
If you’d like to help in any way, please email  Thanks!

RPCV Event Raises Funds for Open Doors

Nearly 200 runners and walkers assembled at Vilas Park, along the shores of frozen Lake Wingra, on Saturday, March 3, to participate in the 37th Annual Freeze for Food.

The Returned Peace Corps Volunteers of Wisconsin-Madison sponsors the 5K/10K run/walk to raise funds for food sustainability projects around the world. For the second year, Open Doors for Refugees has been designated as a recipient of funds raised by the event.

Dozens of volunteers, along with signs promoting the missions of both organizations, lined the run/walk routes.

More than 20 participants ran in both the 5K and 10K events.  Results of this year's and past events can be found on cpages/freeze-for-food

The event also received coverage by two of Madison's TV stations -- WISC-TV (Channel 3) and WKOW (Channel 27).

More photos of the event by Kerry G. Hill --  
Thanks to Generous Donors

Generous donors, including the Middle Eastern UW Law School students shown here, have been helping Open Doors restock our supplies in advance of the next refugee arrivals.
  • Fifteen UW Law students collected the supplies shown here from fellow students, faculty and friends.
  • Rhea Shultz and friends at Westminster Presbyterian gathered coats and house wares.
  • Our friends at Memorial United Church of Christ have made a generous donation to purchase bunks beds.
  • Our friends at Lake Edge United Church of Christ are working on a similar donation.
  • And many others have donated furniture.

If you have any new or gently used furniture or household items that you'd like to donate, please email  We are incredibly grateful to all of you who have helped. You are demonstrating that Madison is a welcoming community.  

ON EXILE Currently Showing at MMoCA
ON EXILE is a documentary film by José Carlos Teixeira that explores issues of refugee identity, migration, and displacement through first-person interviews with Muslim refugees. It's showing in the Imprint Gallery of the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, 227 State St, through May 5.
Contact Us:










Mailing Address

Open Doors for Refugees

1213 N Sherman Ave # 104
Madison, WI 53704


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