BIRMINGHAM, Ala. – Camp offering will go to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship work in the Rio Grande Valley, to Touching Miami with Love in Miami, Florida and to Virginia based ministry LUCHA Ministries.
After learning about thousands of unaccompanied children traveling north from Central America last June, Passport called on Rick McClatchy, Coordinator of CBF TX to learn more. He introduced Passport to Diann Whisnand, CBF field personnel working in the border town of McAllen, Texas. Whisnand, who works involves literacy training and English as a Second Language, became involved in joint efforts of local ministries responding to the influx of people overwhelming the city. “Cooperative Baptists provided pallets of water,” says Whisnand, “Catholic Charities provided a welcoming space, and the Salvation Army made soup. We all worked together.”
Sue and Greg Smith, co-founders of LUCHA, work among the Latino community in Fredericksburg, VA. “Many of the people from Central America are fleeing gang violence and crime.” said Smith in a phone interview. “Unlike others who have immigrated to the United States, many now arrive traumatized by violence and are in need of a different kind of support.” One report estimates that there are ten murders in the city San Salvador every day. It is not uncommon for children to have witnessed a murder.
In Homestead, Florida Wanda Ashworth Valencia works at Touching Miami with Love, under the direction of Jason and Angel Pittman. “Sometimes Miami is called a first-third world city,” says Jason Pittman, “because of the large discrepancy between the extremely rich and the extremely poor.” The Pittman’s work in Overtown, an historic African American neighborhood while Wanda offers similar community development work, in Homestead, which serves a largely Hispanic population.