by Kathleen Fry-Miller
Children’s Disaster Services (CDS) over this past weekend sent a team of volunteers to work at the Catholic Charities Rio Grande Valley Humanitarian Respite Center in McAllen, Texas. In the first two days, the team served more than 150 children.
The center welcomes people who have traveled in the hot sun without adequate food, water, clothing, safe sleep, showers, or shelter for many days. They are provided compassionate care and a place for “restoration of human dignity.” These are all families who have been released on deferred adjudication, a legal status whereby the immigrants are allowed to travel to other cities and reunite with family members and loved ones as long as they promise to appear for their scheduled immigration court dates. A great many of these people are women with children, some of whom have trekked for weeks and even months with little food or clothes, and who have endured many hardships.
There have been several times in the history of Children’s Disaster Services that the Brethren have been asked to respond to the humanitarian crisis of displaced persons, due to violence in their countries and communities. These instances include service to Lebanese Americans in 2006 and Kosovo Refugees in 1999, and the work with IDP (internally displaced people) camps in Nigeria through the Healing Hearts program, from 2016 to the present.
-- Kathleen Fry-Miller is associate director of Children's Disaster Services, a ministry within Brethren Disaster Ministries and the Church of the Brethren Global Mission and Service. For more about the work of CDS and how to be involved go to www.brethren.org/cds . Support this work with financial gifts to the Emergency Disaster Fund at www.brethren.org/edf .