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Serving others at the Kino Border Initiative

A volunteer at the Kino Border Initiative helps to prepare one of the two daily meals provided to those in need. (Mitzi Schroeder - Jesuit Refugee Service/USA)
Friday, March 11, 2011

(Nogales, Mexico) March 11, 2011 — My name is Lorena Leyva and I am a Missionary Sister of the Eucharist. I would like to share with you what our work at the Kino Border Initiative'sAid Center for Deported Migrants (CAMDEP) entails.

Our regular activities start early each day between 6:00 am and 7:00 a.m. We arrive to prepare breakfast for the migrants in the morning. Breakfast is served at 9:00 a.m. We prepare coffee, rice, beans and stew. The menu varies a little each day. It can be eggs with sausage, chicken or vegetables. We prepare many vegetable dishes during produce season because we receive many donations from our local produce companies.

When the migrants arrive, we receive them with a warm welcome. We introduce the individuals, groups and servers who have joined us for the day. Then we provide the migrants with the guidelines for the comedor (the CAMDEP dining area). During the morning we also plan the afternoon meal, which is served at 4:00 p.m., and prepare the ingredients beforehand.

The dining room is a great blessing to all those who arrive and many of whom have been hungry for days. Many had been walking in the desert before being detained and haven’t received proper care or nutrition as a result.

Thank God that we have many people in both Nogales, Sonora and Nogales, Ariz., who are committed to this service of migrants. These volunteers are involved in serving food, preparing meals at home and taking them to the comedor. Others prepare the meals at the facility and they are delighted to receive a thank you, a smile and a hug from the migrants.

During the month of February we served about 6000 migrants in the comedor, where we offered them the basic food services (two meals per day), clothing and basic medical treatments.

In February we also experienced the coldest days in Nogales in 40 years. On those days we served 173 migrants and we also provided blankets and jackets. We ended up giving away everything we had. Unfortunately, it was not enough, people continued to arrive. However, in the end we received more donations.

We invite you to visit us and to speak to the migrants and listen to their experiences.

Learn more about the Kino Border Initiative on on their website here.

Read an earlier Voices story about the KBI here.