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News & Stories
March 8, 2022

Announcing the Plaza de Paz Respite Center's Relaunch in San Antonio: March 15

The Episcopal Diocese of West Texas and Southwestern Texas Synod of the ELCA are proud to announce the reopening of the Plaza de Paz Respite Center in San Antonio scheduled for Tuesday, March 15.

The Plaza de Paz Respite Center will provide day-time welcoming services for individuals and families seeking asylum Monday through Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Services provided at Plaza de Paz will include meals, assistance with travel arrangements, personal hygiene care, and transportation within Bexar County to the airport or bus station. At this time, the center cannot provide overnight accommodations and will coordinate with local partners to provide overnight respite for travelers unable to secure same-day departure from San Antonio.

Formerly known as The Frontera Collaborative - San Antonio Respite Center, the center opened its doors on Tuesday, July 27, 2021. In its initial two and a half months of operation, the center successfully served about 1,441 families and individuals seeking asylum, before temporarily closing on October 8, 2021. At that time the Episcopal Diocese and Lutheran Synod noted a need to streamline the center’s operation and agreed together that the Episcopal Diocese of West Texas would lead the administration of the center, with the Southwestern Texas Synod of the ELCA maintaining a strong supportive role in the day-to-day needs of the respite center.

In January 2022, Eddie Rocha was hired as the Respite Center Coordinator, responsible for coordinating daily operations of the Plaza de Paz Respite Center, managing volunteers, and working directly with Flor Saldivar, Director of Immigration and Refugee Ministries for the Diocese. Assisted by Kabibi Bamuamba and a second Migrant Support Services Lead, the Respite Center staff will work with volunteers to provide humanitarian services and welcome to individuals and families seeking asylum.

Moving forward, Plaza de Paz will continue to work closely with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC), San Antonio Food Bank, Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, the City of San Antonio’s Department of Human Services, Catholic Charities – San Antonio, San Antonio Mennonite Church, and other vital partners who will be represented on the newly established Plaza de Paz Advisory Council. The Advisory Council will function as an interfaith group which attends regular meetings to hear updates from the center staff and provide support to Plaza de Paz.

Beginning March 15, there will be a significant need for volunteers to serve onsite at Plaza de Paz. Volunteer tasks include: helping distribute food and clothing, facilitating shifts in the shower, guiding families to cots for rest, and walking with people through the other stations at the center. Individuals who are interested in volunteering must be at least 18-years-old. Click here to register as a volunteer.

In addition to its dedicated volunteers, Plaza de Paz relies on donations to provide basic personal items to the people it supports, including fresh undergarments, bath towels, shoelaces, socks, and other items. All people served at the center are involved in the formal, asylum-seeking process due to persecution, war, or violence in their home countries. They arrive at Plaza de Paz with limited personal items and only the clothes worn throughout their time with Customs and Border Protection (CBP). The opportunity to put on clean clothes after a long journey is profoundly restorative. Financial gifts can be made to support the purchase of these essential items and Plaza de Paz online, using the Immigration Ministries giving form at dwtx.org/give.

Click here to subscribe to the Immigration Ministries contact list. List members will receive future calls to action regarding the Plaza De Paz Respite Center and other opportunities to serve, through the Immigration Ministries Update, an e-newsletter sent every other week with ministry news, events, and prayer requests.

Questions about Plaza de Paz may be directed to Flor Saldivar, at immigration@dwtx.org.

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Note: All people served at the Plaza de Paz Respite Center are involved in the formal, asylum-seeking process due to persecution, war, or violence in their home countries. Customs and Border Protection (Border Patrol) partners administer COVID-19 tests prior to transporting them to non-profit organizations; families with a positive test must quarantine with CBP prior to the next phase of their journey.

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