Federal officials have given the green light to allow two more local nonprofits to join the effort in helping more than 2,000 migrant children being housed at the Kay Bailey Hutchison Convention Center in Dallas.
Many of the children could stay for as long as three months while they wait to be connected with a relative or sponsor in the United States.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Refugee Resettlement is legally in charge of taking care of these migrant children but since their arrival in mid-March, ORR has been enlisting in the help of local nonprofits.
Catholic Charities of Dallas has been leading the effort in coordinating Spanish-speaking volunteers to assist officials at the center. The organization has created a volunteer waiting list in response to strong local volunteer support but they are still taking applications at CCDallas.org.
"We appreciate the help of volunteers that have already come through the center and those that continue to serve," Dave Woodyard, president and CEO of Catholic Charities of Dallas, said. "As of right now, new volunteers for the Emergency Intake Site are on a wait list and people are being cleared through the process as quickly as possible. We will continue to need help in the days and weeks to come."
The American Red Cross has also provided shelter support.
Now, the need has grown to a point where two additional nonprofits have been brought in to help streamline the effort -- Buckner International of Dallas and Trusted World of Garland.
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The two groups will be in charge of managing donations of items like clothes and hygiene items. A list of specific donation needs is listed on Buckner's website.
Buckner and Trusted World were brought in based on the two nonprofits' expertise in humanitarian aid and resources.
In fact, Buckner International also works with children abroad, especially in Central America, where they say a majority of the migrant children have come from.
“We think that serving families in those countries where they are, helps to stabilize them. And maybe even stem the flow of migration to the extent that families can be successful where they are and not real like their only choice is to come north to border. Now if they do you come north and they’re here, then we want to serve them in place," said Albert Reyes president and CEO of Buckner International.
Donations made to Buckner and Trusted World will be held for distribution as needed. If the donations are not needed for the migrant children, the Office of Refugee Resettlement has approved the use to help vulnerable children and families in North Texas, including financial donations to Buckner, Trusted World, and Catholic Charities of Dallas.
"Texans have shown so much generosity towards the migrant children relocated to Dallas from the border," said Reyes. "We will do our best to honor the original intent of donors, but in the event no additional supplies are needed by ORR, I can promise the donations will make an impact on local children and families who are also in great need."
On Thursday, Buckner delivered a load of supplies to the convention center at the request of the Office of Refugee Resettlement and Catholic Charities.
The supplies included 1,260 Spanish Bibles, 200 sets of washable markers, five dry erase boards, 100 sets of dry erase markers, 108 sets of playing cards, and 1,150 sets of rosary beads.
Officials said donated items should be new and in the original box or container in which they were purchased. Items should be for males and females between the ages of 13 and 17.
Suggested donations include shoes, socks, underwear, pants, shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, antibacterial wipes, and hygiene items like toothpaste, soap, toothbrushes, wash clothes, and deodorant.
Other groups are also collecting donations of toys for the migrant children. On Wednesday March 31, the nonprofit We Are All Homeless is teaming up with Armstrong Commons at SMU and Engage Dallas to collect coloring books, toys, art supplies, books in Spanish, stuffed animals, and soccer balls.
Those who wish to give other items are encouraged to research local organizations that are providing care and assistance to those in border communities, officials said.
Donations may be delivered to Buckner Center for Humanitarian Aid at 5405 Shoe Drive in Dallas between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. from Monday to Friday, or Trusted world at 613B Easy Street in Garland between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. from Monday to Friday.
Donations can also be delivered to at Trusted World drop-off location found at TrustedWorld.org.
Donations will not be accepted at the convention center, according to the Office of Refugee Resettlement.