With the recent surge of migrants putting a strain on charities near the nation’s Southern border, Catholic Charities West Virginia is answering the call to help.
The group sent six volunteers from across the state to provide aid. Diana Bell understands firsthand the crisis at the United States-Mexico border. Bell, representing Catholic Charities West Virginia, traveled to a shelter in Laredo, Texas just last week, where she worked for seven days to help ease the plight of migrants.
“You could just see the trauma on their faces,” said Bell. “The women have been through a perilous journey. The average person traveled for 15 days just to get to where we were.”
Mostly from Central America, the men, women, and children of all ages arrive in desperate need of the most basic things.
“We would give them a sandwich and bottle of water,” Bell said. “We would assess their need for clothes, rest, or diapers for babies. Whatever it was they needed, we’d take care of that.”
Diana says migrants dropped off at the shelter only stay for about 24 hours, just enough time to grab a shower, hot meal, and change of clothing for the next part of their journey. It’s a place of transition before refugees board buses to be reunited with family already in the U.S.
Diana says it really shows how blessed we are as American citizens to have the freedoms we do. “These folks are coming here for freedoms, despite all of the controversies and despite the danger,” said Bell. “Not everybody makes it. Some people are sent back. Some people perish on the journey. But migrants still come in droves because this is a great country.”
Of course, Bell isn’t the only volunteer from West Virginia helping at the shelter center. Five others from across the Mountain state have traveled to the border to help.
Trips like Diana’s were made possible thanks to Catholic Charities USA securing funding for member agencies across the nation to send staff members to help, at no additional cost.