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October . 3 . 2023

Celebrating 11 Years

Since 2012, women throughout our community have graciously opened their homes in the fall and hosted what has become The Gathering benefiting Catholic Charities Foundation of Northeast Kansas and the New Roots program.  

You can be a part of this event, which continues to spread a welcoming message filled with hope, by making a donation. This year’s funds will support the purchase of new farm equipment, like a much-needed tractor.

 Please contact [email protected] with any questions.

Share in the


Over a decade ago, a group of friends gathered to learn more about New Roots, a farm training program offered through Catholic Charities. What blossomed was a passion to support this unique ministry and the incredible farmers in the program. New Roots helps refugees, immigrants and English Language Learners utilize their skills to help sustain their families and our community through agriculture. 

Thanks to the support of The Gathering, New Roots has experienced growth and success. Forty-five farming families have graduated from the program and 31 of those are still farming locally.

Taw Meh Gaw

A Farmers Journey

This fall, Taw Meh Gaw will graduate from New Roots. This farmer training program, a 15-year collaboration of Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas and Cultivate KC, has been instrumental in helping Taw Meh build new skills and find purpose through gardening. Taw Meh was born in Myanmar (formerly known as Burma) in a small village outside the border of Thailand. When the country’s civil war broke out, Taw Meh fled with her parents and began living in a refugee camp where resources were very limited. While there, however, Taw Meh discovered her passion and skill for farming.

“Living in a refugee camp was difficult; I did not have the opportunity to go out and work since I was confined to the camp,” said Taw Meh. “If you went outside of the restricted area, you risked being arrested by the police.” While her family didn’t have their own garden, there was someone who owned a farm about an hour’s walk from the camp and paid them to secretly work there. “I would work on the harvest by drying garlic and growing sesame, soy and yellow beans,” said Taw Meh. In November 2010, Taw Meh was resettled by Catholic Charities. After having spent a majority of her life living in a refugee camp, many things have changed for Taw Meh.

New Roots has provided her valuable farming education and experiences, enabling her to sell produce in area farmers’ markets and through aggregated sales to restaurants and vegetable subscription customers. Most of all, Taw Meh credits New Roots with helping her stay close to family, including her husband and two children, Cindy and Christon. “In the garden, you get to spend time with your kids,” she explained. “You put a lot of time in your garden and spend more time there than working at a company.” Now an avid vegetable farmer, garlic remains a favorite to harvest. She also grows zinnias and sunflowers and dreams of one day having her own land to grow a flower and vegetable garden. You can find Taw Meh’s produce and florals at Parkville Farmers’ Market in Parkville, Missouri.

Support Refugee Farmers

The New Roots program empowers families to start farm businesses growing produce according to organic standards. For the past decade New Roots has supported families from the refugee community in establishing their own farm businesses primarily selling through farmers markets, CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) and wholesale to local restaurants.


Your sponsorship or donation will support the New Roots program and help refugee farmers find self-determination and self-sufficiency.

Above: Taw Meh Gaw displays flowers from a recent harvest.

2023 Gathering Committee

Dori Boers

Angela Evangelidis

Missy Kuklenski

Julie Norton

Lynn O’Leary

Maddy O’Leary

2022 Interpreter Sponsor

Mrs. Judy Hoehn

2022 Market Sponsors

Mrs. Lisa Connor

Mrs. Kerry Coulter

Mrs. Laura Fitzpatrick

Mrs. Susan Gangel

Mrs. Jeanne Gates

Mrs. Karen Gibbons

Ms. Whitney Greaves

Mrs. Gretchen Hembree

Mrs. Shelley Howe

Kelly Family Foundation

Mrs. Missy Kuklenski

Mrs. Bridget Lee

Mrs. Erika McCarthy

Mrs. Lauren McMonagle

Ms. Maureen McMeel Carroll

Mrs. Lynn O’Leary

Mrs. Jenny Sullivan

2022 Seedling Sponsors


Mrs. Dorothy Barnthouse

Mrs. Dori Boers

Mrs. Sherri Burke

Mrs. Diane Church

Mrs. DeeDee Cooper

Country Club Bank

Mrs. Sarah Evans

Mrs. Patricia Green

Ms. Jessie Gregory

Mrs. Jeanne Haake

Mrs. Ann Hays

Mrs. Rebecca Hewlett

Kincaid Family Foundation

Mrs. Pam Kramer

Mrs. Jan Lewis

Mrs. Patricia Lisson

Mrs. Jackie Marquardt

Mrs. Nancy McCarthy

Mrs. Cheri Milligan

Mrs. Lynn Reardon

Mrs. Caroline Reintjes

Mrs. Donna Teahan

Mrs. Sheryl Turner

Mrs. Gretchen Vosburgh

Mrs. Mary Walker

Mrs. Leslie Whitaker

Ann Hays

Our Impact

Stories of Hope

Taw Meh Gaw’s family, like dozens of others, has found hope and a path to self-sufficiency through the New Roots program. In the past 11 years, The Gathering has featured farmers in the New Roots program. Read their inspiring stories below.