WACO—To provide Hispanic immigrants a one-stop event where they could gain access to the resources they need, La Puerta Waco, the immigration ministry of First Baptist Church in Waco, sponsored the All Immigrant Resource Fair.
La Puerta Waco invited other organizations and services—many of them part of the Waco Immigrant Resource Task Force—to First Baptist Church so the ministry could present the resources it offers.
Guests had opportunities to receive immigration law consultations and could process documents with the Consulate General of Mexico in Austin. Other services included medical exams, training and nutrition classes.
Collaboration, not duplicating services
Israel Loachamín, developmental director of La Puerta Waco, noted the relationships the ministry has built with other local and state services allowed everyone involved see the need to work together.
“It has been good to build relationships and collaborate with other organizations who serve the people we serve,” Loachamín said. “Now we are able to set goals together and not say, ‘You do this, and I do that,’ but instead work together to accomplish that goal.”
Since the Waco ministry and other agencies focus on collaboration rather than re-creating services, La Puerta Waco and other organizations can do more to serve the community, he added.
“That is the model of friendship and collaboration we want to use,” Loachamín said.
“As a pastor, I can’t just read a book on how I can help others and follow what it says. Sometimes I need someone else to give me a hand, and that hand can often be the hand of another organization.”
Model for future events
About 300 people assisted in the resource fair, which will serve as a model as La Puerta and other organizations associated with the local task force organize similar events several times a year, Loachamín said.
An event like the resource fair also provides an opportunity for ministers to gain a bigger picture of what people in their congregations are dealing with, Loachamín added.
“I can see how they are doing and pray with people here,” he said.
Through La Puerta Waco, the goal was to help members of First Baptist Waco en Español serve and be involved, Loachamín noted.
“This is a way to share the good news and serve, just as we have been called to,” he said.