Serving Refugees at the Border

$1,533 of $1,500 goal

Raised by 17 people in 1 month
The Tepen family will be driving down to McAllen, TX to serve at the Humanitarian Respite Center that is run by Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. We will be providing for the basic needs of refugees who have been released from ICE detention centers. We are collecting items that the center needs. If you choose to support our cause, please specify if you would like your money to provide items for the center or for our family’s travel expenses (which we will be keeping at a minimum). Thank you!
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With your donations, we were able to purchase the most urgently needed supplies as they were needed. Some examples of what we bought:

350 sticks of deodorant for hygiene kits
Winter coats for babies and toddlers
100 Hair ties
108 sticks of Chapstick
80 pairs of shoelaces
100+ pairs of Men’s underwear
Small size bras
Small women’s leggings and long sleeved shirts
New women’s shoes

And all of this on top of the large amount of in-kind donations that we took with us. Thank you for giving us the ability to immediately run out and buy whatever the center desperately needed at the time. It was VERY appreciated by staff, volunteers, and refugees alike.
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Thank you so much to everyone who supported us on this trip. Our family has returned from Texas after a wonderfully exhausting week of hard work. We dove in with our rusty Spanish skills, but improved greatly over the course of our time there. We served hundreds of new people every day- we packed toiletry packs, handed out shoelaces, sorted clothing donations, prepared and served meals, cleaned the bathrooms and showers, washed towels, helped people find appropriate clothing and coats for wherever they were going next, answered many questions, and our kids played with the children who were staying at the center. Our kids helped with many of these tasks. Our 7 year old helped in the kitchen, did a lot of laundry, and distributed supplies. Our little ones helped sort donations and pack hygiene kits.

The asylum seekers at the respite center seemed weary, yet relieved. They came in with only the clothes on their backs (minus shoelaces and hair ties, which were confiscated), and they were grateful and happy to receive things as simple as chapstick, fresh diapers, and deodorant. Almost all of them were families with kids, much like our family, and similar to our ages. Everyday, 400-700 new people came in on buses from detention, and the majority of them were able to have their travel plan worked out at the center, so they left on buses the same day. Families that needed to stay longer were able to have private family rooms to sleep on cushioned mats. There was an outdoor yard for little kids to play in with toys, bikes, and a playhouse, and a small area with a soccer net where the teens would spend their time. There was also a clinic for anyone who needed basic care or medications before leaving on their way.

We feel honored to have gotten to be a small part of the support these families received while on their long journeys. I hope that they find safety and opportunity here in our country, and that they are able to share their gifts with all of us.
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$1,533 of $1,500 goal

Raised by 17 people in 1 month
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Therese Schaefer
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