Catholic Charities West Virginia (CCWVa) is answering the call to help with the humanitarian crisis at the nation’s Southern Border. Officials with Catholic Charities USA say that the recent surge of migrants coming from South America has put a strain on charitable and humanitarian organizations that are stepping up to help.

In response to the growing need, CCWVa is sending six volunteers to assist Catholic Charities of the Diocese of Laredo (CCDOL). Siobhan Bertone, (CCWVa Program Assistant), Aaron McMillen (SNAP Organizer) and Lora Pierce (CCWVa Disaster Specialist) arrived in Laredo the week of April 29 to help serve those in need. Gina Boggess (CCWVa Board of Directors), Diana Bell (MSW Case Manager) and Kate Kosydar (Parish Social Minister) are scheduled to deploy to the area this week.

CCWVa volunteers are helping maintain and prepare a temporary shelter that Catholic Charities Laredo is supporting at St. Francis Javier Church in Laredo. “We are in Laredo Texas working together with Catholic Charities Laredo and other volunteers, both local and from other parts of the country to assist migrants who have arrived in the United States and have requested asylum,” said Siobhan Bertone, Program Assistant for CCWVa Eastern Region.

“Our work has included preparation for new groups of migrants each day. We’ve helped to feed the families, get them clean clothes from the clothing closet, as well as, hot showers and providing toiletries & towels,” said Bertone. “Once a group arrives, we help them to register and assist them in contacting their families, who may live in other parts of the country. We provide information to those families so they can purchase bus tickets and wait for confirmation of travel arrangements. Some migrants leave within a few hours of their arrival, depending upon how quickly their families can make the travel arrangements. We are also providing transportation to the bus station.”

In an effort to show solidarity and to provide support, CCUSA secured funding to make it possible for member agencies to deploy their staff and/or volunteers that have answered the call for help at the border, at no additional cost.

“This is a beautiful opportunity to be the hands and feet of Christ,” said Beth Zarate, CEO of CCWVa. “And we are so thankful and blessed to have staff members and board members that are willing to travel and give their time in service at the border.”

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