In recent days, Buckner International has been in communication with the faith community, government and non-government leaders in Texas to assess the needs and plan a response in assisting the large volume of unaccompanied minors from Central America who have crossed the border in recent months.
According to U.S. Border Patrol reports, more than 52,000 unaccompanied children have attempted to cross the border between Oct. 1, 2013 and June 15, 2014, more than twice as many as the previous 12 months. The majority of these children are coming from Mexico, Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, and are attempting to flee violence in their home countries. Many have endured extreme violence, trafficking and exploitation. The large influx has overloaded the system and has been labeled a “humanitarian crisis” requiring a collaborative response.
There is a separate and growing issue of single women and their children being apprehended at the Texas border, many without basic necessities and having experienced similar trauma in fleeing violence and gang activity in their home countries.
“As a Christ-centered global ministry dedicated to transforming the lives of vulnerable children and families, Buckner is uniquely suited to respond to these emerging needs and is developing plans to help provide for short- and long-term needs,” said Albert Reyes, Buckner President and CEO. “We believe we have a duty to respond to this growing crisis and are proud to step forward along with the greater Christian community who seek to be the hands and feet of Jesus to these children.”
What is Buckner doing?
To date, Buckner has shipped more than 8,000 pairs of new shoes in toddler sizes to McAllen and Laredo, Texas to assist children who are crossing the border and being detained with their families. The shoes, collected through Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®, are being distributed through Texas Baptists Disaster Recovery in partnership with Catholic Charities, who is acting as the first-line responder in the Rio Grande Valley. Buckner stands ready to assist with future humanitarian aid requests as donations are made and resources are received, and are currently working with a number of partners to procure aid for this purpose. Buckner is also continuing daily work in the Rio Grande Valley, as well as Mexico, Guatemala and Honduras, to strengthen the communities and lives of vulnerable children and families.
At this time, Buckner has not been assigned a direct role in providing care for the unaccompanied children, who are under the direct supervision of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The proposed temporary shelters in Dallas County will be run by HHS, as well. As plans develop over the coming months, we will update our website with details about our involvement and any forthcoming humanitarian aid or volunteer needs.
How can I help?
Donate to Buckner Disaster Relief Fund
At this time, one of the best ways you can show your support is to give to our Disaster Relief Fund to help provide for the humanitarian needs as they arise. These needs include shoes, hygiene kits and shipping of supplies to help meet the immediate needs of vulnerable children crossing the border and any future needs we may serve in regards to supporting the unaccompanied children in Dallas. Click here to give now.
Collect shoes for Buckner Shoes for Orphan Souls®
There is a great need for closed-toe athletic shoes in youth sizes 1 – 7. You can host a shoe drive in your church, small group or community by registering at buckner.org/shoes.
If you would like to make a donation, please drop off new shoes at the following locations:
Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid
5405 Shoe Drive
Mesquite, Texas 75149
Drop-Off Hours are 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. M-F
For information call: 214-939-7179
Buckner National Missions and Aid
3780 N. Bentsen Palm Drive
Mission, Texas 78574
Call to schedule a delivery: 956-583-2041
Pray for the children
Your prayers for the unaccompanied children who anxiously await their future and long to be reunited with their loved ones is greatly needed. Please also pray for those who are in the line of first response and for all of the organizations, churches, government and non-government groups who are working together to respond to the needs of these children and families both here in the United States and also in their home countries.