It’s long after Giving Tuesday, and I know you’ve been asked by many a worthy organization for monetary support over the last week. I want to use this as an opportunity to – at least- update you on the incredible impact of this community’s generosity over the summer in supporting the refugees and asylum seekers at the Texas/Mexico border. And give you a few more ways you can continue to support them- and other people in need.
After I put out a call to help the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition get the items they needed from their Amazon Wish List last July, a beautiful chain of dominoes began to fall. Over the course of the next few months, that Wish List was fulfilled again and again and again. Monetary donations poured in.
Brands stepped up to send product- like Pip & Grow, who sent over 20 baby safe sleep boxes to VVBHC and the San Antonio Migrant Resource Center- where most of the migrants from VVBHC were bussed to before leaving for their host families in other cities and states.
When we (Laura Mayes of Mom 2.0, Meredith Walker of Amy Poehler’s Smart Girls, and myself) visited the VVBHC over the summer, a man who volunteered there told us that one of the best parts of all the donations that were pouring in suddenly was that other members of their community finally took their efforts seriously. And that sparked more dominoes to fall in Del Rio. VVBHC was on the Del Rio News Herald’s front page many times because of all of their good work.
The #SPNFamily values all families. So I’m issuing you all a sweet challenge to help us share our core #SPNFamilyValues with migrant families in crisis: https://t.co/inrS3s1X1F pic.twitter.com/9nTzoyVZS0
— Misha Collins—Get The Adventurous Eaters Club Now! (@mishacollins) July 22, 2019
The cast of Supernatural even got involved and GISH made helping the VVBHC a part of their annual scavenger hunt. Misha Collins himself made a call for fans to support the efforts to help asylum seekers.
A note from my contact at VVBHC – Tiffany Zook- “We can’t thank you and your network enough for the support we received this summer. When your post went out, it was a game-changer, a life-changer…”
THINGS CHANGED QUICKLY
Just as we (Mom 2.0, Amy’s Smart Girls, and myself) were plotting how to expand our communities’ efforts into the San Antonio Migrant Resource center and beyond- the stream of asylum seekers slowed to a trickle and it’s remained that way for months.
I took a step back from pushing asks for relief organizations because the people I had been working with up to that point told me they had more than enough to help the few migrants they were seeing each day. The SAMRC saw so few that it closed it’s doors in October.
The thing is, the migrants didn’t stop coming to seek asylum. The US Government just stopped letting them cross the border to await their trails within the US. You can read more about the Remain In Mexico Program here, here, here, and lots of other places you can Google.
Instead of getting through to organizations like the VVBHC and the SAMRC, asylum seekers are stuck in camps on the other side of the border. It’s getting cold. They are sleeping in tent camps with limited plumbing. The need is still just as great, if not more.
Now that some time has passed and I’ve been able to do some vetting, I would like to direct your passion and attention to the following organizations who are working to help asylum seekers in Mexico and beyond:
Waking Giants & The Resource Center For Asylum Seekers in Mexico- Sera Bonds of Waking Giants has been making trips across the border into Matamoros, Mexico to to bring supplies and monetary aid to The Resource Center For Asylum Seekers in Mexico. During her last visit, she brought supplies for an outdoor kitchen and paid for medical expenses.
If you would like to contribute directly to these efforts:
Contribute to GoFundMe
World Vision recently flipped the script and launched a campaign called Chosen. Instead of signing up to sponsor a child who you chose from the WV system, you sign up, submit your own photo, and children in need of sponsorship get the chance to choose YOU.
A SPECIAL REQUEST
I met so many incredible, generous people working with both the VVBHC and the SAMRC. One of those people was Tiffany Zook. She worked tirelessly at the VVBHC, coordinating volunteers, organizing supplies, and was in constant communication with us about their ever-evolving needs.
I will forever be in awe of her heart and compassion. As the work at VVBHC dwindles, she continues to give her time to other efforts.
Tiffany recently reached out to me to ask me to help her champion another cause she holds dear, and the least I can do is share it with you all here.
“My husband Daryl and I have been advocates for The Gem Foundation, a special needs home for children in Kampala, Uganda. As you know, the statistics regarding the number of orphaned children globally are staggering. There are approximately 400,000 children in the foster care system in the USA, and an estimated 140 million orphans globally. As a parent, and foster parent, it is simply hard to comprehend a number this large, as well as the impact that the trauma, abuse and neglect has had on so many innocent children…especially those with special needs.
Several years ago we began supporting a wonderful organization by the name of the International Voice of the Orphan (IVO) and the primary recipient of its funds, the Gem Foundation.
Emma, Josh, Dwight and Linny (founders of the Gem Foundation) had an even bigger dream…to build a self-sustaining village outside Kampala with clean air and water, farmland, wheelchair accessible buildings and a medical clinic. They partnered with Engineering Ministries International (https://emiworld.org/) to design and manage the construction of the village, and the first 3 homes are almost complete.
Currently, in order to finish phase 1 (3 houses, infrastructure and a medical clinic), they are in need of raising $150,000. If we could raise $300,000, an assisted living facility could also be constructed for the kids once they turn 18.”
If you’d like to find out more about the Gem Foundation and support them, you can visit TheGemFoundation.com.
You can make PayPal donations directly via that link.
THANK YOU FOR BEING GREAT HUMANS
I am immensely proud of this community and the magic you sparked by simply giving a damn. I know that so many of you give thoughtfully and often to worthy causes. I hope you’ll consider supporting the organizations above.
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