BY TYLER TAYLOR, MD
Nowadays, I have one of the best jobs around. Though I get no wage, the payoff is wonderful. Two of us at the Unitarian Church – Margie Stockton and myself – have for 2 weeks gotten to process the donations coming in for the asylum seekers briefly sheltered in Deming, NM.
As I carry into our church the donated socks, cereal boxes, deodorant, jeans, etc., and pack them for delivery, there are two marvelous benefits. First, I get to imagine how each of the hundreds of items will help a child badly needing shoes, a hungry adult, or a teen with no jacket who will soon move to a cold weather state. The boxes of baby wipes remind me of the diaper rash and infections being prevented. And visualizing a weary couple from Guatemala or a young Venezuelan mother with children adds powerful meaning to the can of stew that I’m packing with a dozen more foods.
Secondly, this “job” gives me a front row seat on the compassion and generosity of so many members of our community. Stacks of pants, sweaters, shirts, etc. appear in the collection boxes, and I can almost sense the good feeling the donor had while culling through their closet or buying items in bulk. Their goodheartedness has become palpable.
In truth, the Deming shelter, staffed by a small team of devoted locals called Colores United, is getting swamped with about 200 asylum-seekers each week (all in the US legally). Though we now have about 35 medium-size boxes of donations, and hope to double that before the drive ends on October 23, we are just meeting a fraction of the need in Deming.
And yet, …. a few hundred people will receive a tangible piece of kindness and support from our county. Most of them have only the few things they can carry, and they’ve spent months in trying circumstances that are hard for most to imagine. They’ve only been willing to undertake these traumatic journeys in order to escape a life far more dangerous in their home communities. Kindness and hope have been rarities for most of them for months. So, I suspect each piece of help they receive from us is deeply appreciated, and maybe a bit of a balm for their psychic wounds.
This project is being promoted by five very diverse houses of worship in the county *, but donations from everyone are welcome and much appreciated. If you’d like to join in, please place items (preferably from the list below) in the boxes at the front door of the Unitarian Church (1748 N. Sage Loop, LA) or at the White Rock Presbyterian Church (310 Rover Blvd.) Those will be there through at least October 23 and are emptied every 1–2 days. May what you give bring you half the satisfaction I’m getting!
The Church of Latter Day Saints, Los Alamos
The United Church
Los Alamos Jewish Center
Los Alamos Unitarian Church
White Rock Presbyterian Church
Most needed Items:
Food: Non-perishable, unexpired food
– baby food
Toiletries: – Deodorant – Toilet Paper – Baby wipes
New socks (all gender/sizes)
New underwear (all gender/sizes)
Jeans (men’s size 28-38) (women’s sizes 0-12)
Jeans (Youth all sizes)
Jackets (all genders/sizes)
Shoes (close toed, all sizes)
Checks: Made out to Colores United. (It is a 501(c)(3), tax-deductible organization.) They can be dropped off or mailed to our church office. (1738 N. Sage Loop, Los Alamos, NM 87544)