Easter at Plaza de Paz Respite Center
by Flor Saldivar, Diocesan Coordinator for Immigration & Refugee Ministries
I am so grateful to Trinity by the Sea, Port Aransas for donating 100 Easter baskets to our Plaza la Paz Respite Center in San Antonio. Presently, we only serve one or two children at the center on any given day, and so these young travelers grow bored quickly. Now, each time a child walks through the door, their eyes immediately land on the baskets. When asked if they would like one, they smile and shake their heads yes. Sometimes parents ask if we were selling them and how much they cost. They always seem shocked to learn one of our churches made the baskets as gifts for their children for Easter.
Once a child receives a basket, they immediately open it to check out their new goodies. Those who receive coloring books, balls, or small stuffed animals cherish and play with them throughout the day. The stuffed animals are especially a hit, and the children carry them throughout the respite center, hugging them and sometimes giving them names. The baskets are also used to hold books we have for the children who spend time at the respite center. Or sometimes they walk around collecting small treasures or items they find interesting.
Since the initial days of diocesan Immigration Ministries, Trinity by the Sea, Port Aransas has been an outstanding supporter of this growing outreach. They are always among the first groups to respond and do something, lending their support even at a distance of over 180-miles from our centraI offices. I first connected with Sue Miles in late 2020 when the Christmas Stocking Initiative was launched. She and the members of Trinity by the Sea made dozens and dozens of stockings for the children in the Matamoros encampment.
From that time, their support and involvement have continued to grow. They made and mailed hundreds of Prayer Squares, blessed with beautiful messages of love and hope to the migrants we serve. They have no idea how much comfort their efforts have brought to people who could really use a hug. Now that they launched the Easter Basket initiative, I find myself wondering what they will do next!
Another wonderful example of service can be found a few miles down the coast, at All Saints’ Episcopal Church in Corpus Christi where their Border Ministry outreach and Youth Group have joined forces to make Dignity Belts. When migrants reach the U.S. Border they must surrender their belts for security reasons. Often migrants walk for hundreds of miles with limited supplies, losing weight on their journey and leading to the need for a belt. All Saints', Corpus Christi wants to ensure everyone receives a belt when migrants arrive at a respite center. They have created an easy video tutorial on their YouTube channel to teach everyone how to make a Dignity Belt. Make plans to gather your Youth Group or other Small Groups together to make belts so our visitors feel more at home in our communities.
To request more information about Immigration & Refugee Ministries’ work and how to get your congregation involved, email Flor Saldivar, Coordinator for Immigrant & Refugee Ministries, at firstname.lastname@example.org, subscribe to receive the bi-weekly Immigration Ministries Update, or visit dwtx.org/immigration.