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Tucson tree company donates services to Benedictine monastery

Tucson tree company donates services to Benedictine monastery - (11-09-2014)

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Photo: An employee with Bartlett Tree Experts in Tucson, Arizona, harvests date trees on the monastery property owned by the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration. The company donated its services to manage the religious community's date harvest this year.

Harvesting dates at the Benedictine Sisters of Perpetual Adoration's monastery in Tucson, Arizona, was a breeze this year thanks to professional services donated by the Bartlett Tree Experts.

Last week, the company harvested dates from six date palms located on the Benedictine Sisters' property, according to Tucson Prioress Sister Ramona Varela, OSB.

The partnership was the result of a mutual connection with the Iskashitaa Refugee Network, which unites community businesses and organizations with refugees to empower and to create opportunities for them to use their knowledge and skills. The Benedictine Sisters and the Bartlett Tree Experts have worked with the network in the past.

"When we connected with Rick Allen, the local manager of the Bartlett's in Tucson, it led to an offer to help us harvest our date trees," Sister Ramona said. "Harvesting the trees is getting more difficult for us with each passing year, but we enjoy the fruit - for ourselves and for what we can share. We are thankful for the Bartlett company's kindness in donating their time and talents to us."

According to Sister Ramona, the network's Iraqi and Iranian refugees know a lot about dates and their trees, how to harvest the fruit and the best products to make from them.

"What we harvest for ourselves is more than plenty for us, so it is a blessing that we can share with others in need," she said.

For more information about the Iskashitaa organization, please visit www.iskashitaa.org.