Volunteers and donations needed for immigrant ministries

Volunteers sort clothing at a Laredo relief center supported by Catholic Charities, United Methodists and local Baptists. (BGCT Photo)

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Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery ministries to immigrant families need volunteer teams to serve in McAllen and Laredo. Meanwhile, a Central Texas Baptist area office established a drop-off site to collect donated items for the McAllen ministry.

Texas Baptists continue to assist the Sacred Heart Relief Center in McAllen in helping families who have journeyed from Latin America to join relatives in the United States.

laredo clothing425Volunteers fold clothes for immigrants, who often arrive with nothing. Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery ministry is calling for volunteers to help in McAllen and Laredo. (BGCT Photo)“These family units have traveled long distances, and many have no additional possessions beyond the clothes they are wearing,” said Marla Bearden, disaster recovery specialist with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. “At the relief center, they receive a shower, donated clothes, food and rest before they begin their long journey by bus.”

Local volunteers need help sorting donations and meeting needs at the relief center. For more information, contact Bearden at (214) 537-7358 or Vanessa Quintanilla at (956) 279-5515.

The relief center needs donated items to distribute to families, particularly adult-sized socks, belts for men and boys, men’s clothing, maternity pants for women, men’s shoes sizes 8-10, women’s shoes sizes 5-9, reusable tote bags or drawstring bags for snacks, light sweaters, fleece blankets, coloring books, backpacks, hair clips and hair ties.

Collection and drop-off sites

A collection site has been established at the Food Bank of the Rio Grande, 725 N. Cage Blvd. in Pharr.

The Tri-Rivers Baptist Area office at 502 E. Main St. in Gatesville also is serving as a drop-off site for items needed in McAllen. Donations will be accepted until Aug. 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Monday through Friday.

In Laredo Baptist Association, Director of Missions Mario Garcia continues to provide immigrant families transportation to a relief center supported by Catholic Charities, United Methodists and local Baptists.

The relief center in Laredo needs diapers, travel-size hygiene items, packable snacks, walking shoes for women (size 5-7), new undergarments for women and children, backpacks or tote bags, wipes and first aid supplies to provide the mothers and children. Volunteers are needed to help at the relief center. For more information, call Garcia at (956) 693-1136 or lbalaredo@gmail.com, or contact Gerald Davis with Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery at (214) 924-6401.

Texas Baptists’ Disaster Recovery office is seeking additional churches or association to serve as drop-off locations for donated items. Collection sites need to make arrangements to transport donated items to McAllen or Laredo. For information, contact Bearden at marla.bearden@texasbaptists.org.

For the Children Fund

The BGCT established a For the Children Fund  to support ministries related to the immigrant crisis. Donations benefit the ministry partnerships in McAllen and Laredo. Checks made payable to “Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery” with the memo “For the Children Fund” can be mailed to the BGCT Finance and Accounting, 333 N. Washington, Dallas 75246.

A Texas Baptist Men mobile shower unit is stationed at the relief center in Laredo, and local churches are providing staff support for it.

As a part of the ongoing response to the border crisis, TBM disaster relief volunteers are staffing a command post bus in Hidalgo that is serving as a “cooling station” for the Department of Public Safety, Border Patrol and other law enforcement.

Shelters for unaccompanied immigrant children operated by BCFS closed Aug. 9. During the 134-day operation—the longest and largest in the history of the agency formerly known as Baptist Child & Family Services—workers cared for about 8,000 Central American children at shelters in San Antonio and Oklahoma.

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