Church, Volunteers Step in to Help Central American Families at Border
BROWNSVILLE – An increase in Central American families at the border has a church and volunteers stepping up to help.
Keeping up with the pace has shown to be a challenge.
Iglesia Bautista is a simple church that sits near the U.S.-Mexico border.
Inside, missionary work is underway.
Canada, Mexico and even the other side of the world is represented here.
"We don't need to go to the world. The world already came to us,” says pastor Carlos Navarro of Iglesia Bautista West Brownsville.
Shipments like these come every day.
Shoes, clothing and personal hygiene products are housed at Navarro's church.
They're then taken to asylum seekers on bridges, bus stations and shelters.
Ozanam and the Good Neighbor Settlement House are on that list.
Limited on space and help, they depend on the generosity of others.
Churches are stepping in to address the needs inside and out.
"Along with the message of salvation, we help quench the thirst of your spirit and your body, and we help calm your hunger,” says Navarro.
They work with volunteers to feed people daily.
Brendon Tucker is a volunteer from Central Texas, but he lives in Brownsville now.
"I like to get started by noon, have the chicken in the roaster by noon, roast it for six hours, then get working on the sides, go across the bridge. The latest we got back was 1:30; usually we get back by 9:30 p.m.," he explains.
He moved into this apartment by the bus station a few months ago.
This Thanksgiving holiday, he's got a visitor from New York helping make cupcakes.
Both will spend their day in a kitchen and at the international bridges. They're fine-tuning this process.
They learn "what to cook, what people like, what things you can and cannot bring across to Mexico, what's cheaper to buy in Mexico… But you know, we're kind of working out the kinks that way we'll be able to take this process hopefully to El Paso next," Tucker said.
Tucker's group of about 15 is trying to keep up with the growing lines of asylum seekers.
Navarro believes the weeks ahead will be critical for these organization efforts.
"Because what's expected to come next in the coming weeks is going to be chaotic,” says Navarro.
The church is expecting sleeping mats to arrive soon.
They'll go to the Good Neighbor Settlement House to expand sleeping space there.
The City of Brownsville and Matamoros have yet to announce contingency plans.
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