Here in Laredo I am so impressed with the faith community’s response to the needs of people who are migrating from Honduras, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nicaragua and pass through from apprehension by the Border Patrol to wait at the bus station.
Leaders from the United Methodist Church, different Baptist congregations, the Catholic Church, Save the Children, and other faith traditions I’d never heard of were united in their concern for doing the best in the short period of time that the travelers stop at Laredo on their journeys. All groups came to the meeting with something to offer and a real willingness to share their resources and to serve.
Depending on the time of their arrival, there is breakfast, lunch or supper available. In the morning showers are taken at Bethany House, a homeless shelter and soup kitchen of the Catholic Church. After lunch, the showers move to the Holding Institute Community Center , a mission institution of the United Methodist Women. The showers are provided by a trailer built just for that by the Baptists and situated on the Holding property. While parents pick out clean clothes, the children have a play space created by Save the Children, which is finishing up a new play ground, sure to be a hit for years. Adults come back in to the Holding Institute Community Center for a bag with undies, a hygiene kit, snacks, water, diapers and other items for a bus trip. At the Greyhound bus station an employee of the Mexican consulate is coordinating serving meal in the evening. The company is allowing people to sleep on the buses that aren’t in service until their bus departs.
The faith communities are shining in their willingness to cooperate with each other for the good of all. This is an example our political leaders could follow. In cooperation and open communication solutions can be found to benefit everyone. Everyone is bringing something to the table–people even walk in to Holding with donations off and on all day. Compassion, communication, cooperation–all important community values that the faith groups I have met are exhibiting.