By Robert Dilday
The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship has created a fund called “CBF CARES (Children and Refugee Emergency Support)” to assist the surge in Central American immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, many of whom are now detained in federal facilities.
The fund will help with immediate needs but also will provide resources as unaccompanied children and refugee families are transported from border areas to other cities.
CBF Disaster Response is coordinating efforts with field personnel along the Texas border, CBF of Texas and partners including Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery.
Diann Whisnand, a CBF worker on the Texas border, has facilitated the CBF’s donation of pallets of bottled water to the Rio Grande Valley Food Bank in Pharr, Texas. She has also talked with refugees, aid volunteers and agencies in McAllen, Texas. The CBF has helped feed more than 3,000 people in partnership with the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities.
Whisnand says the McAllen community is focused on helping refugee families, typically young mothers with children. Unaccompanied refugee children, she said, “are transported directly under the guardianship of the federal government to centers managed by contracted child service agencies.”
Tommy Deal, the CBF’s U.S. Disaster Response coordinator, said the organization will continue to seek ways to serve in this long-term crisis.
“As these children and families are moved out of the border cities and states where they entered the U.S. to other cities for housing, other needs will arise across the country,” he said. “Opportunities for individual and church support for the day-to-day needs of the refugees, as well as opportunities to advocate on their behalf will surface.”
Financial donations can be made to “CBF CARES online or by mailing a check payable to “CBF” with Acct. 17027 in the memo line to Cooperative Baptist Fellowship, P.O. Box 102972, Atlanta, GA 30368-2972.
For more information on how individuals or congregations can help, contact Deal at email@example.com.
With reporting by Jeff Huett, CBF associate coordinator of communications and advancement.