'They have faith in America': Volunteers step forward with food, supplies to aid asylum-seekers
Some bring a wagon filled to the brim with sandwiches and juice. Others bring dozens of pairs of shoes and a table for a makeshift shop. Their purpose, though, is the same: to help asylum-seekers and other vulnerable people who have fled to the U.S. southern border but are still waiting for their day to enter the country.
Due to extremist tactics by the Trump administration designed to stomp on the rights of asylum-seekers, some have been forced to wait for weeks, even months, on the Mexican side of the border for U.S. officials to process them, even though the U.S. has the vast resources to treate them quickly and humanely. In the void of leadership, good Samaritans have stepped forward to help.
Crossing from Brownsville, Texas, to Matamoros, Mexico, Ann Finch, “who is active in her United Methodist Church in Austin, brought dozens of pairs of shoes that were donated to her, and several pair she had purchased herself,” the Corpus Christi Caller Times reported. Aided by a bilingual man named Carlos Cisneros, Finch set up a table that had a line forming in no time. "Just about everyone here needs shoes," she said.
Another volunteer, Army veteran Mike Benavides, with a community organization called , has been bringing asylum-seekers water and hot food twice a day every day for nearly a year now. “My faith has me trying to be like Jesus, to do what Jesus would do in the here and now,” he said. “He would embrace them. He wouldn't build a wall to keep them away.” He says that without the daily deliveries, many would go hungry.
One asylum-seeker who has been aided by their work is Sol Herrera, who fled Venezuela with her baby daughter. She lives in a tent that was donated by Finch. "It gives you the feeling that someone is worried about you, someone cares about you,” she said. “Having a kid in here is very hard, but at least we have a tent. This is my home. Home sweet home."
No one really wants to leave their home; they do it because they have no other choice. "Everyone here started from scratch," Benavides said. "Everyone here lived in a home. They had couches, they had TVs, [t]hey had things that were theirs. They left everything behind. They have faith in America."