Refugees need help

March 23, 2019

Greetings Friends—

So much of the news out of Washington is overwhelmingly negative that I sometimes want to just throw up my hands in surrender.  Of course, that’s exactly what Trump wants to see happen so he will be unencumbered in the pursuit of his own special interests.  SO, we must persist and resist while we work for systemic change.In the meantime, many people continue to be seriously hurt by the current policies.  I hope you will be able to join me in some volunteer efforts to mitigate that hurt.  Here are some ways in which each of us can help.

HELP FOR REFUGEES

The number of people crossing the border in New Mexico and west Texas has spiked significantly.  Of course, the reasons for the influx are not being dealt with in any way, and Trump’s insistence on building a wall is a totally useless response to the problem.  We have a humanitarian crisis at the border that demands a humanitarian response.

AVID Visitation Training           

Do you want to help migrants held in immigration detention get through their imprisonment?  Are you looking for ways to advocate for migrants held in facilities designed to keep them isolated and hidden?  Then you are invited to attend an orientation and training session provided by Advocate Visitors with Immigrants in Detention (AVID) on Wednesday, March 27, 5:30-7:30pm in the Roadrunner Room of the Branigan Library, 700 N Main.  Register for the class at avid@chihuahuan.org.  Annunciation House, Border Servant Corps and other shelter assistance            ICE is expected to release 600 migrants a day with no help for them in finding their way to their sponsors.  Annunciation House in El Paso works with ICE to house migrant families seeking asylum and assist them in contacting sponsors to provide transportation to their new home throughout the U.S.  Annunciation House and its many shelter locations (including 6 in Dona Ana County) are overwhelmed by the task.  Not enough churches, temples and mosques are offering to help, so Annunciation House has been forced to pay to house some migrant families at motels in El Paso and Las Cruces.  This is a new wrinkle to the shelter program.  Border Servant Corps, located at the Peace Lutheran Church in Las Cruces, is coordinating the program to provide meals, transportation, medical services and travel preparations to families housed at a Las Cruces motel on weekends.  During the week, the regular housing program continues at several local churches and MUCH HELP IS NEEDED.MANY MORE volunteers are needed to help with meal preparation, transportation to El Paso airport and bus stations, making beds, doing laundry, sorting donated clothing, medical checks, bathing, and giving out welcoming smiles.  Spanish-speakers are especially needed, but don’t hold back if you only speak English (there’s a place for you, too).  Donations of new travel-sized toiletries, socks and underwear are also needed.     Find out what you can do to help by contacting the following people:          Border Servant Corps (Peace Lutheran Church)               Kari Lenander, 575-522-7119, ext. 16          El Cavario United Methodist Church               Anselmo Delgado-Martinez, 717-682-3803          Project Oak Tree (Roman Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces)               Deacon Leonel Briseno, 575-523-7577          Holy Cross Retreat Center               Father Tom Smith, 575-524-3688          St. Anthony’s Catholic Church in Anthony               575-882-2239          Heart for the World Church               Barbara Searle Kim, 575-405-9128And, don’t forget very generous, tax-deductible financial donations to Annunciation House.  Checks may be mailed to:            Annunciation House            815 Myrtle Avenue
            El Paso, Texas 79901You may also donate online at https://annunciationhouse.org

HELP FOR THOSE LIVING IN POVERTY           

Dona Ana County Selfless Act is accepting donations of fans for their 3rd annual Stay Cool Event.  All fan donations benefit families, elders & individuals here in Dona Ana to stay cool as we start to prepare for the upcoming summer heat.            Donated fans will be picked up by contacting All Weather Wash & Detail Service, LLC at 575-635-5211 or you may drop off your donations at these 4 locations:            United Healthcare, 555 S Utah Ave, Suite D            Triple Threat Nutrition, 1300 El Paseo, Suite D            Elite Nutrition, 2801 Missouri Ave, Suite 26            Game Changer Nutrition, 1319 W Picacho Ave            NM Mission of Mercy 2019 will provide free dental care to at least 900 patients in two days May 3 & 4 at the Las Cruces Convention Center.  900 volunteers are needed but only 400 have signed up so far.  MANY MORE volunteers are needed for this amazing program.  Help is needed for hospitality/food area, translation, parking/security, runners, registration, patient escorts, volunteer check-in, massage therapists, setup/tear down, and willing hands for all the unplanned needs.  Volunteer online at nmdentalfoundation.org.

HELP FOR THE INCARCERATED AND THEIR FAMILIES 

            Hello, my name is Mairead McCarthy and I help to coordinate our local timebank here in Las Cruces. Our timebank is a model of alternative economics that allows members to exchange needed services using time as currency. We have a vibrant community of over 250 members from all walks of life, and we maintain that each of these people has something valuable to share and contribute.

            On Monday, we launched a campaign to extend our timebank to incarcerated folks and their families. This campaign is spearheaded by a timebank member, Raul, who was formerly incarcerated himself, and speaks to the loneliness and dehumanization he felt behind bars. The one moment he looked forward to was mail call, where he could hear news from friends and family. Unfortunately, not all incarcerated folks have someone who sends them mail, and this moment can become one of rejection instead of hope.

            Our project, Human Kind United, proposes a pen pal system between incarcerated folks and our current timebank members. Pen pals will participate in collaborative art projects, and receive a monthly newsletter, which Raul has already started on. Through exchanging mail with timebank members, incarcerated persons will earn time credits, which their families can spend on services. This element of providing for one’s family is crucial, and we are happy that the timebank can offer such a solution. We hope to bring humanity and value to the lives of forgotten people on both sides.

            You can read more about the specifics of the 6 components of Human Kind United on our campaign page. Our goal is to raise $6,000 by April 12, which will then make us eligible to receive larger grants from Gannett. Your gift would mean so much to us, just $32 can support one inmate to receive the newsletter for a year. If you can’t donate now, please share this campaign with your networks, it can make a huge difference!

https://www.crowdrise.com/o/en/campaign/rio-grande-community-development-corporation-new-mexico

            Thank you in advance for your generosity. We appreciate it!

-Jan Thompson

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