There is an immediate need for volunteers, supplies and donations.
For those of you in the Tucson area there are some immediate opportunities to help out. We might even want to take charge of a night aiding women and children at the Tucson Greyhound Terminal.
If you've been following the news in the past two weeks, you've seen information about two separate, but similar crises here in the Southwest.
First, there's the rapid increase in the numbers of unaccompanied minors crossing the border, primarily in Texas, and the lack of capacity to process them appropriately. As a result, approximately 1000 children have been sent to a former detention center/warehouse in Nogales. PCIC and SAI have been coordinating with clergy and leaders in Nogales, Douglas, and other southern Arizona communities to find out information on the condition of the facility the minors are staying in, to determine what basic needs they have, and to provide them with pastoral care.
Fr. Sean Carroll, the Director of the Kino Border Initiative, and a Board Member of SAI, was able to visit the center today with a group of congressional aides and Santa Cruz County Supervisors. He said the physical condition of the children and the center seem to be good, but he was not allowed to speak with them or assess their pastoral or spiritual needs. He, Fr. Ernie Galaz, Pastor of St. Andrews Episcopal, and clergy from the Nogales Faith-Based Emergency Response Team have not been allowed to provide pastoral care.
At this point, FEMA and the Border Patrol say that they do not need any material resources or donations. PCIC and SAI will contact congressional and other government offices to push for clergy access to the detention center.
The other crisis is the large numbers of women and children who have been sent to Arizona, again primarily from Texas, and dropped off at the Tucson and Phoenix bus stations in order to travel on to family in other cities in the US. Most of these women have little money and no supplies to take care of their children. For many of them, Spanish is a second language, as they speak indigenous languages from Honduras, El Salvador, and Guatemala. In Tucson, folks from Casa Mariposa have been working with these women and children to help them contact their relatives, provide diapers, food, child care, etc., so they can successfully continue their journey.
Casa Mariposa really needs volunteers who speak Spanish to help out at the bus station and other English speakers who can help to organize supplies, etc. Generally, the women and children arrive in the late afternoon and early evening so that’s when most of the volunteers are needed. One day almost 400 women and children arrived at the Tucson Greyhound station.
Beth Lowry, of Casa Mariposa, has asked those wishing to volunteer to attend a Volunteer Orientation/Training on Saturday, June 21st, from 11 am – 1:30 pm at Most Holy Trinity Catholic Church located at 1300 N. Greasewood Road.
The immigrant women and children also need the following supplies:
• instant ramen soup (cup-of-noodles)
• bottled of water and Gatorade
• bananas (good potassium)
• flavored Pedialyte for dehydration
• sweaters or hooded sweatshirts for children and adults
• socks for children,
• children’s blankets
• diapers (size 3 and 4)
• sanitary supplies (sanitary napkins especially needed)
• toothbrushes and toothpaste
• clean stuffed animals
Supplies can be dropped off Catholic Community Services, 140 W. Speedway, north entrance, M-F, 8:30-5:00 pm. Please do not drop anything off at Casa Mariposa or the Greyhound Station because they do not have the space.
Monetary donations can be made to Catholic Community Services (immigrant women and children’s fund), 140 W. Speedway, Tucson, AZ 85705.