BY MAIRE O’NEILL
St. Job of Pochaiv Orthodox Church is holding a supply drive Saturday from 9 a.m. to noon at 1319 Trinity Drive for immigrants in Deming.
Father Theophan Mackey says Deming is facing an immigrant crisis with a large number of immigrants, mostly from Honduras, Guatamala, Ecuador and Brazil, having sought asylum there in the past month.
“The Deming Fire Department has been managing this, but they need material help,” Father Theophan said.
St. Job’s will be collecting the items listed below this week and Saturday morning and transporting what they collect to Deming next week. The church is also accepting monetary donations for bulk-buying of supplies in Deming at that time.
The items needed are:
- Paper plates, cups and plastic cutlery
- Over the counter medications
- OTC medication
- Cough drops
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste
- Combs and hair ties
- Shampoo and soap
- Diapers and baby wipes
- Canvas bags
- Coloring books and crayons
- Feminine hygiene projects
St. Job’s has been in communication with Kyle Thornton, EMS Bureau Chief with the state Department of Health. Thornton reports that since early May, the Deming Fire Department has managed all aspects of 24/7 shelter for immigrants while maintain their very busy 911 response.
“Once they manage to get through Mexico and arrive at our border, they are processed in a detention center by police or border patrol and given paperwork. Their shoe laces are removed and all possessions taken away, including medications. They are then taken to a shelter (Deming is one of many in New Mexico and Texas), only if they have a sponsor who is usually a relative. In the shelter they stay one to three days, are medically assessed if needed, and then sent to El Paso, so that they can be transported to their sponsor by plane, train or bus. The first night I was in Deming, 120 immigrants spent the night. The second night it was 290,” Thornton said.
Thornton said In the shelter, immigrants are checked for lice, asked if they need medical care, and then given a cot and Red Cross blanket.
“Medical assessment includes getting a baseline of vitals; HR, RR, O2Sat, BP, lung sounds and weight for children. Those three days, we saw influenza, headaches, dehydration, allergies, rhinitis, coughing especially at night, stomach pain, nausea from the bus/van ride in and foot problems from hiking long distances. Not to mention shock and anxiety. The most serious illnesses were young children with increased temperatures and tachycardia. Looking out for rosy-cheeked, lethargic peds began as soon as they first got off the bus and entered the shelter. Lots of Pedialyte and Tylenol are given,” he said.
Thornton is seeking volunteers to provide relief for DFD personal and has asked emergency services personnel to consider volunteering their assistance. He said at the facility, the volunteers will complete an initial patient assessment and provide support at the shelter. There are no Spanish language skills required.
Prospective volunteers are asked to call 575.525.2167. Non-EMS volunteers are also needed.
To drop off large donations of goods or monetary contributions at St. Job’s before Saturday, call Father Theophan at 575.915.6535 and he will make arrangements to open the church to accept them. Credit card donations will also be accepted by phone.