El Chaparral Crossing Immigrant Camp March 17
Image Credit: Guillermo Arias / AFP

A huge thank you to everyone who participated in the last minute plea for diapers, wipes and other baby needs for the babies at the border. People responded in a big way!

Thank you to Sheila for coordinating this drive as well.

Below is an update and thank you from Chili Ornelas, Chair of the Refugee Support Network.

Hello Refugee Support Network Members and supporting agencies,

You may remember that last Monday 15 March you received a STAT message from me about a request for baby items.  We had received an urgent request from Pastor Ortiz for baby diapers, baby wipes, baby bottles, and baby clothing.  This was because more and more refugees are being allowed into the US, with a large portion of the refugees being mothers with babies or very young children.  As you know, these mothers arrive with little to nothing in their bags.  Their whole life’s possessions are often in a gym-size bag.  We put out the call for donations and you have come through!  Again!!  Thank you all for everything you have donated, with either supplies or monetary funds.  We the leaders of the Refugee Support Network are continuously amazed at your generosity.  Again, thank you.

I wanted to give you a final report on results of your efforts:

1.  All of the supplies you donated were delivered to Laredo today, Saturday 20 March.  Peggy and I, and our friends Judy and Tully Tullburg traveled to the border, being followed by Sister Mercedes and Sister Olga in a second vehicle.  Both vehicles were filled with the supplies you made possible.  We met with Pastor Ortiz’s wife and we off-loaded the vehicles and stored everything in a home in Laredo.  Pastor Ortiz was in Del Rio helping some 120 refugees with travel plans, bus tickets, etc., so he was not able to meet us.  We found out that two days ago Pastor Ortiz had hosted over 70 people in the sanctuary home / church that he is working in now.  When we arrived there was only one family left in the facility. This family was trying to find financial help to purchase bus tickets to travel to Maine.

2.  The amount of supplies collected is staggering!  We collected all sizes of diapers, totaling over 2100 diapers.  We carried over 40 packages of baby wipes totaling over 2400 baby wipes.  We also had 100 training pants, which are for the bigger toddler kids (2T through 5T).  In the baby bottle department, we had over 50 baby bottles.  Forty pairs of socks for both girls and boys, and 18 baby blankets were all also part of the load.  Clothing wise we had 5 big plastic bags (13 gal. size) full, which had some coats and sweaters.  A total of 5 medium sized boxes with clothes and toys was also carried into the home.  Lastly, we had one big plastic bag of shoes for children.  Please give yourself a pat on the back and definitely feel good about all the joy you are bringing into the world of the refugees.

3.  While we did not meet with any large number of refugees today, they are coming very soon.  The Biden administration of allowing more asylum seekers across the border will soon open up Nuevo Laredo as a MPP release station.  This may happen as early as next week.  That means more young mothers and their children will come across seeking aid from Pastor Ortiz.  Because of your donations, because of the efforts of your Refugee Support Network and many other humanitarian agencies, the first feelings of Americans by these future citizens will be a feeling they will long remember.  We do care about them, and we are here to help them on their first steps into America.

Thank you for all that you have done in the past, thank you for helping in this Baby Supplies Project, and I know you will help again in the future.  Thank You!!!

Chili Ornelas
Chair, Refugee Support Network