Lutheran Social Services of the Southwest began addressing humanitarian needs of people coming to Arizona’s southern border seeking asylum in January. The Southwest Conference has been a partner in this effort from its beginning. More than 100,000 migrants have come through the southwest since this past October, well over 40,000 of them through Arizona. ICE and Border Patrol hold families for up to 3 weeks and then releases them to churches, volunteer groups, and at “transportation hubs.” In Phoenix that “transportation hub” is the water retention ditch next to the Greyhound bus station at 24th Street and Buckeye. It is a barren, gravel pit with no water, no restrooms, and little shade. With temperatures over 100 now in our city, this is completely unacceptable, and we believe we are not being overdramatic to state that it puts individuals, many of whom are children and infants, at risk for illness and even death. Migrants are in poor health when they are released due to the strenuous journey and weeks being held in a caged concrete room.
Lutheran Social Services is in desperate need of more churches to host groups of 30-100 migrants on a regularly scheduled basis. Congregations do not need to provide a physical location. A space in Glendale for hosting migrants Sunday through Thursday is available. But it is sitting empty many days due to a lack of groups to serve as hosts.
Here are ways you can help:
come and see the space and witness the love of Christ first hand, or
come and serve God’s children who are in such need, or
volunteer to be a host church or to volunteer to support other host churches.
Contact Ruth Escobar at 480-396-3795 ext 1218 to visit the shelter or to learn more about volunteer opportunities.
Financial donations may be made to the Southwest Conference UCC for the Phoenix Welcome and Reception Program.