Karen Refugees In Minnesota Give Back

Stories of Feeding God's Children Hungry in Body & Spirit

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Karen Refugees In Minnesota Give Back

Karen Refugees In Minnesota Give Back

A woman walked through the jungles of Burma with her baby to get to the community center where Feed My Starving Children meals were being distributed. Her husband had died, a victim of the 60-year conflict in Burma that has displaced more than 2 million people.

Rebekah Jacobson, the community engagement specialist at the Karen Organization of Minnesota, met this woman while distributing FMSC meals at the center near the Thai-Burma border.

The Karen have suffered horrific human rights abuses through the ethnic cleansing operations of the ruling Burmese military. The conflict in Burma has been called the world’s longest-running civil war.



It was there that Jacobson distributed MannaPack Rice™ during an internship with one of FMSC’s partners in Thailand.

Her group drove four hours through winding, mountain roads to get to the center where Karen refugees gathered after walking hours through the jungle.

Jacobson thought of the woman who’d journeyed to safety after losing her husband in the conflict.

“I knew that they all had similar experiences with the army in Burma,” Jacobson said. “I saw the trauma, and it became much more real.”

Jacobson’s role with the Karen Organization of Minnesota (KOM) includes helping the youth coordinators as needed. The youth program partners with Saint Paul Public Schools and Roseville Area Schools to provide services for students from Burma in grades K-12. KOM works with Karen students at three public schools, where they facilitate volunteer opportunities across the Twin Cities.


FMSC is a great option because the students don’t speak much English, Jacobson said. “It’s a great opportunity to give back to where they came from.”

FMSC shipped more than 4 million meals to Burma and Thailand in 2015.

KOM In the Packing Room

Hta Thi Yu Moo was 14 years old when she came to the United States from a refugee camp in Thailand. She remembers lining up every month to receive a bag of rice and beans—the ration for each family. She’s lived in the Twin Cities for close to 10 years.

She works as a youth coordinator for KOM, where she organizes and chaperons volunteer events for Karen youth that have lived in the U.S. for less than three years. Many of the students she works with have lived in the U.S. for six months to a year.



The Karen are the fastest growing refugee group in the Twin Cities, where FMSC is headquartered. Close to 10,000 Karen refugees call Minnesota home.

She brought a group of 12 students to a recent packing session in Eagan. The session packed more than 11,000 meals.

Providing HOPE

The conflict in Burma is ongoing. FMSC has partners on the ground, distributing food to these refugees who have suffered much.

Please pray for those involved in the conflict and the refugees who have endured trauma.

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