making masks for camps and shelters at the border
You may recall that back in early January we made a trip to Juarez, Mexico on the Texas/Mexico border. The Off Ramp went to meet a group of Cuban artists seeking asylum. While there, we visited multiple shelters for people who are displaced and were amazed at how the people in Juarez had responded to the needs of those arriving in their city daily.
We were amazed but not surprised. Indeed, we have in the past few years made multiple trips to the Rio Grande Valley area, Laredo and Nuevo Laredo, and Eagle Pass. We have watched as churches, civic centers, individuals, government agencies, and non-profits have responded to the needs of the thousands arriving in their areas needing food, shelter, and legal help.
With COVID-19 cases expanding, refugee asylum seekers in camps and shelters across the region particularly are vulnerable to the global pandemic. Similarly, immigrants living in colonias on the U.S. side of the border also are at risk. As soon as COVID-19 became a reality for Texas, we wondered, “What will they do in the shelters? How will they keep the virus from spreading? How will they care for the sick and elderly?” Sure enough, their need for protective masks surfaced just over a week ago in a texting string among members of Fellowship Southwest, a non-profit that serves refugees at the border.
We were grateful when we were contacted by Fellowship Southwest asking to partner with us in the provision of masks for our partners in border areas. They determined the group needs 2,000 masks, we ordered sturdy cotton cloth at the best price available, and Fellowship Southwest pledged to pay for production of the masks and shipping to the border.
I know the faces these masks will help protect. I know the gratitude with which they will be received. Thank you for helping us help them. And if you are able, we ask that you continue to support us and our work on Giving Tuesday, May 5. (P.S. That's tomorrow!!)