By Pr. Manda
On July 16th I received an emergency request from some of the ELCA congregations in the southwest of the country. The request was in response to a notice from Immigration and Customs Enforcement that they were releasing and attempting to reunify over 1,500 children in the last two weeks of July.
All refugees who had been detained and separated from their children/parents will be released to 1 of 4 NGO’s in the southwest US. There are a number of ELCA ministries in this area (Border Servant Corps; Peace Lutheran Church of Las Cruces, NM; Iglesia Luterana Cristo Rey of El Paso, TX; Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest) who are involved in providing hospitality and assistance to refugee families. They do this through a partnership with Annunciation House.
Through this ministry, Annunciation House usually serves more than 500 people every week. In the various locations and organizations, they provide for basic human needs upon release from detention (including temporary shelter, medical care, clothing, food), legal aid, airfare and bus fare, and travel expenses like food. Now Annunciation House and their partners will receive an additional 400-500 people per week as families affected by the zero-tolerance border policy are reunited.
When you wonder what is happening to the children and parents you hear about in the news – this is it. They are being sent to the places served by Annunciation House and similar organizations in the southwest. And they’re asking for our help. Volunteers (who speak Spanish) and some materials are needed, but still, the greatest need is money to fund the assistance described above.
If you would like to donate to this ministry of hospitality and relief, you can make a donation to CGS with the memo “Refugee Assistance”. Or you can donate directly to Annunciation House by clicking here to go to their website. On August 1st, we will send the collected funds to Annunciation House to be used by the various ministries involved. If you have questions or need assistance, you can speak with myself, Pastor Manda, or you can speak with our financial secretary Janet Keeley, treasurer Kevin Visscher, or council president Theo Olson.