After fleeing extreme violence in Central America and enduring months of fear in a family detention center, mothers and children are dropped off at the bus station with only the few possessions they might have fled with. Nearly all are without money. None have food, water, baby supplies, or shoelaces, which are taken from them in detention. Despite this, they must take the long journey, up to three or four days for some, across the country to reunite with family or friends.
The scene calls to mind Isaiah 58:6-7:
Is not this the kind of fasting I have chosen: to loose the chains of injustice and untie the cords of the yoke, to set the oppressed free and break every yoke? Is it not to share your food with the hungry and to provide the poor wanderer with shelter — when you see the naked, to clothe them, and not to turn away from your own flesh and blood?
In San Antonio, volunteers with the Interfaith Welcome Coalition (IWC) have taken these verses to heart and are loosening the chains of injustice by waiting at bus stations with backpacks of food, water, diapers, toiletries, clothing, and other basic supplies to meet these brave families and support them on their journey.
But family detention is expanding at an unprecedented rate. Last Mother’s Day, less than 100 mothers and children were detained. Now, there are over 1,000 mothers and children locked up in family detention. And by the end of this year, there will be 3,000 mothers and children in detention facilities. The need for these backpacks has never been greater.
This Mother’s Day, join congregations around the country to meet the needs of these mothers and children by participating in the Interfaith Welcome Coalition’s backpack drive. Donate online through IWC’s backpack registry and have baby blankets, pacifiers, snacks and encouraging devotionals sent to San Antonio, to sustain these families on their journey.
Seize your chance to untie the cords of injustice! Click here to send items on the registry to Laurel Heights United Methodist Church in San Antonio in time for Mother’s Day, and transform a mom’s traumatizing experience into one of hope and welcome.