I recently spent a week at the Texas border. For two days I worked at the Catholic Charities Respite Center in McAllen. Together with lots of other volunteers, we took care of the needs of 20-50 asylum seekers who had been cleared for travel to reunite families in the U.S.
The really big work was about Matamoros, where over 2000 asylum seekers, mostly families, were living in tents, waiting for court dates in the U.S. Three times that week a group of us, wearing matching t-shirts, loaded cars and vans with collapsible wagons, sandwiches assembled by McAllen volunteers, milk, diapers, wipes and other supplies. We drove to Brownsville where we unloaded everything and put the supplies into the wagons, which we then pulled across the international bridge. We set up tables and distributed everything, including the empty gallon milk jugs. After that we had the opportunity to visit. Most of the people were from Central America and their stories were frightening.
What also impressed me were the volunteers. Some were retired “Winter Texans,” but more were college students on winter break. I loved their energy, their commitment and their wagon pulling.
How are we wagon pullers to those in need?
LouAnne Willette, OP