DALLAS -- Seeking to fulfill the commands of Jesus in Matthew 25 to provide for those in need, Texas Baptists have an opportunity to provide care for unaccompanied children who have crossed the border and will soon be transported to Dallas through volunteer opportunities and a new "For the Children" fund.
Dallas County has volunteered to open a temporary shelter in the area to house 2,000 unaccompanied children. On Tues., July 1, Texas Baptist representatives, along with more than 30 faith-based groups in the Dallas area, met with Clay Jenkins, Dallas County Commissioner, and officials from HHS about the temporary shelter.
"This is an unfortunate, even awful, situation for everyone," said Dr. David Hardage, Texas Baptists executive director. "So much of what has happened and is happening is out of our control. What we can control is our response to human need. We will try to be the hands and feet of Jesus to those in need."
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services will hire contractors to work with the children, ages 12-18, and provide food, clothing, medical assistance, and educational activities for 120 days beginning in August.
According to Chris Liebrum, director of disaster response, community volunteers will be solicited to assist with socialization and recreation activities for the children at the facility.
"This could provide churches with the opportunity to impact children's lives with a positive Christian influence," said Liebrum. "Some of these children have been through horrific situations. It breaks my heart to hear how young lives have been damaged. Some have seen this as a political issue but from a biblical perspective it is the Matthew 25 model."
Texas Baptists are starting a "For the Children" fund for those interested in donating to assist these programs. To donate online, click here. Checks can be sent to PO Box 159007, Dallas, Texas, 75315-9007. Funds that may be collected beyond the requirements of this current situation will be used for other disaster recovery needs.
Liebrum will travel to San Antonio on Thursday to meet with representatives from Baptist Child and Family Services and observe the temporary shelter they have been running at Lackland Air Force Base.
Once details have been determined for the Dallas facility, area churches will have an opportunity to respond. For information on how to volunteer, contact Marla Bearden, disaster recovery specialist, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 214-828-5382.
For more information on this immigration crisis, please read this Dallas Morning News article.
To Find out more ways to get involved visit texasbaptists.org/forthechildren.