Ariel Miller, one of our commenters on Episcopal Café, has researched information on how to help the kids on the border who have come from Central America:
I called Allison Duvall of Episcopal Migration Ministries to ask this question and found a link to a page set up by Catholic Charities of West Texas, who appear to have a network of skilled child welfare agencies able to help with placing children. Episcopal churches are teaming up with Catholics in Texas.
The two websites below list several ways that Episcopalians can act immediately to help ensure the safety of these refugee children. But Congress is poised to decide in the next few days whether funding is used to shut out and deport children, or to provide the care that will ensure they get fairly heard and housed in physically and emotionally safe conditions while their cases are pending. So here are ways we can respond:
1. Contact your members of the Senate and the House to advocate that the children be treated with compassion, receive a thorough and fair evaluation of their case, and that the US response address the “push factors” that are driving so many parents to the desperate measure of sending their children far from home. The Episcopal Public Policy Network has a sample letter and links to your senators and representatives.
2. Send money to help the Diocese of West Texas meet the children’s material needs.
3. The website of Catholic Charities of Central Texas lists several ways donors and volunteers can aid churches on the front lines of response
4. Episcopal Relief and Development covers the dimensions of the crisis and a way to donate to assist the programs working with the children:
Episcopal Relief & Development coordinated a conference call with Episcopal Migration Ministries (EMM) that brought together leaders from Episcopal dioceses and affiliated organizations responding to the ongoing Central American migrant crisis.
The purpose of the call was to foster and strengthen regional connections in order to assess needs and mobilize resources and expertise where they can help most.
The Episcopal dioceses of Texas, West Texas, Fort Worth, Rio Grande, Oklahoma, Arizona, Los Angeles and San Diego were represented on the call, in addition to the Episcopal Church Office of Government Relations and a number of EMM affiliates.
Depending on local context and need, these dioceses are active in responding to the immediate needs of migrants crossing the border; providing facilities for families to wash, rest and receive supplies before traveling to join relatives; working with authorities to gain access for clergy to provide emotional and spiritual care to migrant children in government custody; supporting foster families hosting migrant children without family connections in the United States; and providing accompaniment and case management for both children and families.
Donations of money instead of goods is encouraged as needs can be met as they arise. All agencies say – do not send material items.
Ariel Miller, who served as a General Convention deputy in 2012, is a member of Bread for the World and the Social Justice Committee of the Diocese of Southern Ohio. Her concern for Central America began with the wars of the 1980’s, when she volunteered in the Sanctuary Movement.