Asylum Seeker Assistance

Brief History:  Legal Asylum Seekers coming across the southern border into the El Paso/Las Cruces area is certainly nothing new. Annunciation House, in collaboration with churches across denominations, including the UMC, have been reaching out to “the stranger” since the 1970’s. El Calvario UMC, Las Cruces was repurposed to serve asylum seekers on a weekly basis beginning in early 2018. Tobin Park UMC, El Paso is outfitted to serve asylum seekers, and have been receiving families on a weekly basis since late last summer. The number of refugees overall fluctuates, but the churches and organizations in the El Paso/Las Cruces area have experienced recent periods of dramatic increase and strain on their resources. In recent weeks, the numbers of families being released has climbed into a few thousand per week, and we have seen other areas of New Mexico (such as Deming) begin to receive asylum seekers.

Who are we serving? The majority of the asylum seekers our churches serve are single parents traveling with small children from Honduras, El Salvador, Guatemala and Mexico, who are escaping horrible poverty and violence by taking the long, dangerous journey to the U.S.  They have been detained by the U.S. Government for weeks, while they are being vetted and sponsors in the U.S. have been confirmed. Once that process is completed, the U.S. Government has requested that we join with other organizations to house these families for a few days while we assist them in making travel arrangements to reunite with their sponsors, and we hope to show them the love of Christ as we meet their health, hygiene and comfort needs for their short stay.

How can you help?
“We are preparing for a long commitment so, above all things, we need your prayers for all those who are part of this ministry: the asylum seekers, our Government agencies, our church-related shelters, every volunteer, and those in leadership of these efforts.”  El Paso District DS, Rev. Eddie Rivera

Financial Donations: Asylum Seeker Assistance will be our Annual Conference Offering this year.  Local Churches are encouraged to hold their own Sunday Offering prior to June 12th.

You may also send your donations directly to the churches in ministry.  Check Memo: “Asylum Seeker Assistance”

-El Paso District Office, 6401 Belton Rd. El Paso, TX 79912
-El Calvario UMC, P.O. Box 2842, Las Cruces, NM 88004 or El Calvario FB page
-Tobin Park UMC, 9410 Roanoke Dr. El Paso, TX 79924
-FUMC-Deming, 1020 S. Granite St., Deming, NM 88030-4570

Supplies:  We will be hosting a supply drive during Annual Conference.

There are basically 3 categories of items:
a. General Donation Items
b. Travel & Personal Packs
c. Snack Packs

They can be assembled personally or at local churches and donated. Otherwise, all of these items, along with the General items can also be separately donated individually or in bulk quantities.

You may also donate to El Calvario UMC online through their Amazon Wish List: Click here.

Volunteers:
If you speak Spanish, have medical training or drive a large multiple passenger vehicle, you are greatly needed.  The people in Las Cruces & El Paso have been serving this need for many months and would love new volunteers to join them in this ministry of welcoming the stranger.  If you do not fit these parameters, your help is also needed to clean, cook, sort supplies, transport people, etc.

Volunteers interested in helping Tobin Park in El Paso can contact Bob Hedicke, Tobin Park Site Manager, to make arrangements by phone at 915-490-1001 or email rhedicke@earthlink.net.

To volunteer at El Calvario in Las Cruces, contact Susana Torres, Volunteer Coordinator and Admin Officer, at 575-524-1230 or zuziettorres@gmail.com.