All Saints’ Border Ministries Team
“I was hungry
and you gave me food,
I was thirsty
and you gave me drink.
I was a stranger
and you welcomed me.”
Border Ministries is an outreach of All Saints’ Episcopal Church and is rooted in Christ’s call to welcome and serve the “stranger” among us in the asylum seekers at the US-Mexico border.
What do we do?
Border Ministries team members travel to various locations in South Texas to volunteer at “respite centers” where asylum-seekers receive a meal, clothing and support with arranging transportation to their sponsors.
We conduct donation drives to supply the respite centers we visit with items that are urgently needed.
The Border Ministries’ Mercado creates “stuffies” for children at the respite centers as well as collage cards for sale that fund donations for the respite centers. The Mercado meets the first Saturday of the month at All Saints’ from 10am - 12 noon.
Border Ministries’ hosts educational forums to deepen our community’s understanding of a variety of topics, including the complexity of the immigration system and the entangled history of the United States and
Our team meets the 2nd Monday of each month from 5:30-6:30 via Zoom to plan for upcoming events.
For more information and to find out how you can get involved, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Volunteering at the Catholic Charities
Respite Center in McAllen - Feb 2, 2024
Illness may have reduced our numbers but not our effort. A handful of us planned to travel on February 2 but two of our team were sick, so we set off in Ron’s pick-up truck with approximately 15 bags of women’s sweatshirts, sweatpants and leggings along with some menswear and healthcare supplies that our All Saints’ community generously donated.
Upon arrival, Kate, a very friendly staff member, greeted us and explained that the number of migrants the center has been serving has been relatively low (approximately 150-200 a day) and that most of these folks are coming through official ports of entry.
Switching between English and Spanish, Kate invited us into the pantry to put together travel snack bags for asylum seekers headed to the airport. While we waited for the snack delivery, she asked us to go through the shelves and discard expired food items. Soon the delivery arrived, and we filled travel bags with masks, hand sanitizers, cheese crackers and chips.
After donning masks, gloves and a hairnet, we served lunch to approximately 150 asylum seeker families and individuals seated at long tables. The meal consisted of a chicken and rice soup donated by the US military along with an appetizing plate of fluffy rice, beans and chicken, proudly prepared by Kate. Everyone was welcome to have seconds. Three migrants helped us plate food, fill juice glasses and deliver plates. We had an opportunity to learn just a little bit about two of these women’s stories: Cindy from Colombia and Myra (sp?) from Venezuela.
Cindy explained that she left Colombia with her husband and two teenage boys in mid-December, flew to Mexico and received an official appointment to request asylum approximately two weeks ago. Cindy’s family was headed to Chicago where a friend was living, and she was concerned about the cold because they didn’t have coats. Myra traveled with her husband and two sons as well; thanks to Google translate, we understood that her four year old son, Mila, has a cleft palate. Myra showed photos of Mila’s previous surgeries, but Myra is hoping to find a foundation in New York City, where they are headed, that might help them completely correct this condition.
After cleaning up the kitchen and finishing putting together the travel bags, we distributed our “stuffies” to fifteen children. Some of kids picked the first one they pulled out of the bag, while others found it challenging to select their favorite. One child was sleeping with their caregiver, and we left a stuffie next to their pillow on our way out. All of the children were walking around the center holding their stuffies as we said good-bye.
Upon returning home, Border Ministries sent an additional $220 worth of women’s leggings, sweatpants and sweatshirts from Amazon to the center.
We hold in prayer Cindy and Myra’s families and all migrants as well as the staff who serve them with such attention and care. If you are interested in joining us on our next respite center trip, please reach out to email@example.com.