Volunteers in Maryland plan to drive supplies to border to help migrants ‘feel human again’

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A group of women in Potomac, Md., have launched a local collection drive to gather hygiene and household necessities for migrants detained along the U.S.-Mexico border, saying they are going to make the 20-hour drive to make the drop-off to a nonprofit. 

Margaret Dimond and Jordana Carmel have collected hundreds of toothbrushes, towels, bedsheets, diapers and other donations for meant for migrants recently released from U.S. Customs and Border Protection detention facilities in Texas, The Washington Post reported Monday.

{mosads}“Our hope is to provide the necessities to help these people feel human again,” Dimond said.

The donations will be passed over to Catholic Charities-Diocese of Laredo (CCDOL), a nonprofit which sees as many as 70 people a day who are exiting from various detention centers.

Border Patrol agents direct those approved for release to the shelter, which helps provide them with necessities and places to stay while their cases are pending in immigration court, the Post reported.

“These people come to us in need of showers, in need of personal hygiene, in need of clothes, in need of food — they even have medical needs sometimes,” CCDOL executive director Benjamin de la Garza said.

Dimond, a 53-year-old internet and tech consultant, said she was spurred into action after reading in The New York Times about the conditions at a Clint, Texas, migrant shelter for children. 

The June report found that hundreds of young migrants without access to toothbrushes, toothpaste or soap. Young detainees reportedly had relieved themselves in their pants because of lack of diapers, according to lawyers who visited the center. 

There is currently no system in place for Customs and Border Protection (CBP) to accept aid from charities, faith-based organizations and nongovernmental organizations.

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) wrote a letter to the Department of Homeland Security asking the agency to set up a process for people wishing to donate supplies to help detained migrants.

Cruz noted in his letter that DHS facilities are “at peak or beyond peak capacity,” and praised Congress for approving $4.6 billion in emergency humanitarian aid for the border.

Dimond told herself that problems plaguing the migrant detention centers were “so solvable.”

“There’s a need that can be met. I know the private sector — small businesses, individuals — can meet that need,” she told the Post.

Dimond and Carmel, a life and health coach and message therapist, teamed up to launch a social media campaign to publicize their efforts.

They met with Deb Lang, the executive director of Maryland-based nonprofit KindWorks, to collect and organize the supplies as they poured into Dimond’s living room.

Dimond and Carmel will pack the goods into a rental truck and drive to Laredo, as well as visit the Texas towns of McAllen and Brownsville, according to the Post.

“We must all remember where we came from,” Carmel said, recalling her grandmother who survived the Holocaust and immigrated to the United States. “None of us are that far removed from the moment of immigration.”

Tags Donald Trump Immigration Laredo migrant detention centers Ted Cruz Texas

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