“Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.” – Deuteronomy 10:19
For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me… -- Matthew 25:35
There is a humanitarian crisis brewing in our region that requires the heartfelt response of United Methodists. Since April, the governors of Texas and Arizona have transported more than 7,200 legal migrants to Washington, D.C. This political tactic of dumping busloads of people each day, some of whom have traveled hundreds of miles under difficult conditions, off at Union Station has become perilous.
Secular and religious groups, like Capitol Hill UMC, have stepped up to lend assistance to the migrants, who arrive with only one plastic bag for their belongings. Some are wearing only flip-flops. Many travel with children and all are unsure of their next steps.
Capitol Hill UMC is one of six faith communities within walking distance to Union Station. When the immigrants arrive, they offer respite. But serious financial assistance is needed. The needs are enormous. United Methodists and their churches are encouraged to give generously.
Just $25 will provide a night in a shelter, a shower and meal for one person. Backpacks for adults are also needed. The church is also working with several secular groups to assist migrants with travel arrangements. Congregations are strongly encouraged to take a special offering to address the overwhelming needs, which currently have no end in sight.
You can give online at https://www.bwcumc.org/migrantcrisisdonations
+ Text MIGRANT to (410) 220-2402
+ Mail a check made payable to “BWC Treasurer” with “migrant” in the memo field to the Baltimore-Washington Conference Center, 11711 E Market Place, Suite 1, Fulton, MD, 20759 ATTN: Dr. Emma Escobar.
For those who want to give directly to Capitol Hill UMC the following items are needed:
- Backpacks for adults.
- Sneakers or shoes for adults that are comfortable for walking.
- Hygiene kits, which can include a toothbrush, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, hand sanitizer, comb or brush, washcloth, lotion, a razor.
- Bras and underwear. New is preferred; also socks and men’s shorts.
- Prepaid SIM cards for use in cell phones.
- Be on call for providing transportation to airports, Union Station and shelters. You need to walk them into the airport and assist them through TSA and to the gate. There is a sheet with helpful instructions available.
- Go and spend time at some D.C. hotels where DHS is housing some migrant families and be there to assist the families to help them get food, and medicine.
- Be trained to accompany people through the asylum process.
- Trauma therapists
- Meet buses at night at Union Station. It is all volunteers who meet the buses and they come at all hours of the day and night with no communication about when so if you are willing to help meet buses at night that is a huge help.
For more information, contact the Rev. Neal Christie, BWC’s director of Connected Engagement.
Money is also needed for tickets for the migrants to travel to their next destination and for shelter in Washington, D.C.
See a story about the BWC’s ministry with the migrants.