By Marv Knox
As winter’s frigid blast buffeted the U.S.-Mexico border this week, pastors pleaded for blankets to comfort immigrants seeking asylum in the United States.
“Very cold today; 37 degrees,” Carlos Navarro, pastor of Iglesia Bautista West Brownsville wrote in a text on Tuesday. Later, in a phone call, he said churches that provide food and shelter for refugees are desperate to supply blankets, hoodies and other warm clothes. Rosalio Sosa, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Tierra De Oro in El Paso, and Rogelio Pérez, pastor of Iglesia Bautista Capernaum in Lomito, Texas, echoed those sentiments.
The Mexican cities where the immigrants must remain while waiting to start the long asylum process do not have sufficient shelter to keep them warm in the face of winter’s chilling blast. For example, hundreds of refugees huddle in tents in Matamoros, across from Brownsville, Texas, and in Tijuana, adjacent to San Diego. In Juarez, just below El Paso, shelters overflow, and immigrants sleep on the streets.
So, Navarro, Sosa and Jorge Zapata, associate coordinator of CBF Texas and director of Fellowship Southwest’s Immigrant Relief Ministry, went bargain hunting for blankets—refugees’ first line of defense against cold weather.
Fellowship Southwest provided $6,000 in grants from its Immigrant Relief Fund to purchase blankets, hoodies, beanies and gloves for Navarro, Pérez and other pastors to distribute on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande Valley. Meanwhile, Zapata planned to buy blankets in Juarez, using a CBF Texas credit card, and Fellowship Southwest will reimburse the cost.
If you would like to support the FSW Immigrant Relief Fund, which not only purchases protection against winter, but also provides food to refugees and supports shelters all along the border, click here.
Also, if you prefer to purchase supplies and ship them to the border, Iglesia Bautista West Brownsville and Iglesia Bautista Capernaum are happy to receive them. Here is their wish list:
- Diapers, particularly for 3- and 6-month-old babies.
- Baby wipes, which are valued highly, because parents do not have running water for bathing their children.
- Fleece hoodies and T-shirts for children.
- Fleece hoodies and T-shirts for adults, in sizes extra-small, small and medium, and a very few in large.
- Ponchos also would be helpful when rains blow in.
- Fleece blankets.
These supplies can be shipped to Iglesia Bautista West Brownsville, 925 W. St. Charles St., Brownsville, TX 78520.
Marv Knox is coordinator of Fellowship Southwest.