by Emily Holladay, CBF Communications Associate
DECATUR, GA – The Cooperative Baptist Fellowship is helping to make a difference in the lives of children and families from Central America crossing into the United States from Mexico and is encouraging Cooperative Baptists to support the Fellowship’s current and future work with these refugees.
In addition to these efforts, responses to the crisis led by CBF leaders and congregations in Texas and Louisiana are also under way.
CBF Disaster Response has been in conversation with field personnel along the Texas border, CBF of Texas and partners including Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery to facilitate how best to channel the compassion of Cooperative Baptists.
CBF is also making a difference through the work of CBF field personnel Diann Whisnand in the Rio Grande Valley of Texas and announced today that it has created a fund to receive gifts of support as it seeks opportunities to make a long-term impact.
Gifts can be made to CBF’s fund called “CBF CARES (Children and Refugee Emergency Support).” As unaccompanied children and refugee families are transported away from border areas to other cities, additional response will be needed and this fund will help support that response.
Whisnand has facilitated 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, seeking to make connections and see where she and CBF can assist. CBF has helped feed more than 3,000 people in partnership with the Salvation Army and Catholic Charities.
She reports that 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.”
Read a piece by Whisnand about her work on the CBFblog.
Cooperative Baptists can also participate in the efforts by praying. Prayer suggestions on the crisis from Whisnand include:
- For the refugee children to be held in God’s hands
- For the parents who came with the children or stayed back home
- For relief providers to be Christ-like
- For those who are in the middle of making the risky journey across Mexico today
- For the small, Central American countries of Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador.
Tommy Deal, CBF’s U.S. Disaster Response coordinator, said that CBF 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.”
Donations of support can be made to CBF’s fund “CBF CARES (Children and Refugee Emergency Support)” online at thefellowship.info/cbfcares, 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 you or your congregation can help, contact Tommy Deal at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, Texas Baptist Disaster Recovery, a CBF partner, has announced some direct needs in several areas in which people can donate items. This list is available on its website, http://texasbaptists.org/disaster/current-projects/children/children-volunteer-opportunities/