I was wondering which group to spotlight today, and this message fell into my lap from the family of Laura Tepen, a Facebook friend from Bloomington, Illinois:
The Tepen family is heading down to McAllen, Texas to volunteer at the border for a different kind of field trip. We will be working with Catholic Charities at the Humanitarian Respite Center for those families who are released from ICE detention, often sick and underfed. Our family has a call to help together in the small ways we can, and this cause has been weighing on our hearts. We now have the opportunity to show the corporal works of mercy to people in need, as a family.
As volunteers, we will be assisting with the everyday operations to serve up to 450 people who stay at the center every day. Please read the links below for more information on what the center does for people seeking asylum at our southern border. Our kids will be able to help with distributing items to those who need them, and they can play with the children staying there to be a welcoming and loving face of our country to them.
We will be collecting goods to take with us, as the center is in constant need of toiletries, clothing, medicines, etc. If you would like to donate, the following items are needed, and I can get them from you before we leave on February 21st:
The Humanitarian Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley Humanitarian Respite Center needs the following items:
– Toiletries for men and women (deodorant, toothpaste, toothbrushes, combs, etc)
– Shoes (sandals, tennis shoes, loafers, etc) for men, women, children and infants of all sizes
– Clothes (pants, t-shirts, blouses, underclothing, etc) for children and adults of all sizes
– Baby supplies for toddlers (Pampers, baby wipes, baby bottles, etc.)
– Sealed snack food (granola bars, chips, peanut butter & cheese crackers, etc)
– Gift cards to purchase food items
– Phone cards
– Plastic bags for families to pack sandwiches, snacks, and water for their trip.
“The Humanitarian Respite Center, is a scant three blocks from the downtown McAllen bus station, where U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement releases refugees who have been cleared to stay in the country until their asylum claims are ruled on. Sister Norma has established a contingent of volunteers to take the immigrants to the center for a meal, a shower, a nap, a change of clothes, and to assist them in getting to their next location. “We’re just helping them to restore their dignity,” she says.”
Although we will be doing this trip on the CHEAP (we are staying in an RV for $33 per night and bringing all of our food), we are starting a GoFundMe in case anyone has it on their heart to contribute to our mission. If you choose to support our cause, please specify if you would like your money to provide items for the center or for our family’s travel expenses.
Previous volumes of the Pro-life Spotlight:
If you know or have worked with an organization that works to build a culture that cherishes human life, please drop me a line at simchafisher at gmail dot com with “pro-life spotlight” in the title.