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RPCVs needed in El Paso

El Paso has become a major crossing point along the 2,000 mile southern border. A large numbers of families, many with young children, are fleeing unendurable levels of violence, instability, and the resulting economic collapse in their home countries, especially in El Salvador, Honduras, and Guatemala.

Once refugees arrive at the border, they are met with poor treatment. Since the government does not have sufficient resources to detain them long term after vetting them, the majority of these families are released on “parole” with the proper documentation to go meet relatives who can sponsor them as they go through the court process to make their asylum claim.

Those who cross in the El Paso region are released into the care of various volunteer organizations who are operating a number of shelters at churches and diocesan facilities in El Paso and Las Cruces. Lately those numbers have grown from an average of 300 a week to 300 a day. The growth has led to the creation of more shelters. Annunciation House has even rented out several budget hotels to assure that no families will be left on the streets.

At the shelters, they have the opportunity to contact relatives in order to arrange for a bus or plane tickets. Meanwhile, they are provided with food, clothing, a place to shower, and to rest.

As this situation continues, it is straining the ability of the local community to respond. We are looking for volunteers who are willing to stay for a minimum of a week serving in a wide range of capacities, from cleaning to making contact with sponsor families, to driving families to the bus station to coordinating shelters. Spanish language ability would be a tremendous help, but is not required. Volunteers will be provided housing and meals.

If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the form in Annunciation House‘s website under “contact form” or call Daron Mulligan at (215) 510-7128.