Solidarity with the Central American Exodus

Support Refugees in Mexico and the U.S./ Mexico Border

Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas

Annunciation House is a volunteer, non-profit organization providing accompaniment and basic emergency services to asylum seekers at the border. With the current number of people arriving from Central America and the coming caravan from Honduras, they are in need of volunteers to help with intakes, transportation, travel arrangements, the clothing bank, and providing meals. Asylum seekers being released now have no “post-release plan” the way they used to – they are being dumped at the bus stations without tickets, some not knowing where they are or even having anywhere to go. A small group of current volunteers and local congregations are doing their best to support over 1,000 people a week who are just arriving to the U.S.

FM4 Paso Libre in Guadalajara, Mexico

FM4 Paso Libre is a non-profit organization that defends and promotes the human rights of migrants and refugees in the west part of Mexico, through short-term shelter, comprehensive support (such as legal aid and medical screening), advocacy, and research. Volunteers from Guadalajara as well as from countries beyond Mexico support the staff, contributing their experience and skills so that the journey of migrants and refugees is more dignified and just. General volunteers are needed for a month or more at a time; specialist volunteers such as doctors, nurses, and immigration lawyers can volunteer for as little as a week at a time.

We cannot overemphasize the urgency of this moment...

If you have ever felt called to this work and thought, “When the moment comes that I’m really needed, I’ll go,” now is that time. Volunteers are needed most as soon as possible, and will continue to be needed in the coming months.

Volunteer Work, Skills Needed, and Logistics

Annunciation House Volunteers

With the current number of people arriving from Central America and the coming caravan from Honduras, Annunciation House is in need of volunteers to help with intakes, transportation, travel arrangements, the clothing bank, providing meals, and general housekeeping for the shelter. They are renting two small hotels to expand their hospitality centers.

Skills needed: Volunteers should have experience working with underserved, vulnerable, and/ or marginalized populations. Volunteers must also pass a mandatory background check. 

Volunteers do not need to be UU or affiliated with a UU Congregation to participate in this volunteer opportunity. 

FM4 Paso Libre Volunteers

FM4 Paso Libre is in need of volunteers to stay in their Care Center and support migrants, refugees, and asylum seekers with basic care (meals, clothing, health care), legal guidance, and other forms of meaningful service and deep solidarity.

Skills needed: Volunteers must have an intermediate level or higher level of Spanish, and posses values of solidarity, dignity, respect, justice, commitment, interculturality, and human rights. 

Volunteers do not need to be UU or affiliated with a UU Congregation to participate in this volunteer opportunity. 

Annunciation House: Volunteer Dates

UUCSJ is recruiting volunteers to arrive in El Paso on Saturdays and begin volunteering on Sunday. Volunteers must stay a minimum of two weeks; however, advanced or fluent Spanish speakers can stay a minimum of one week. Longer volunteer placements are preferred.

Due to the nature of this issue, it is impossible to know how long thousands of migrants will arrive in El Paso, and we ask for volunteers to sign up as early as they are able. UUCSJ will continue recruitment as long there is a need for additional volunteers.

Annunciation House: Cost and Logistics

Volunteers are required to cover the full cost of their volunteer placement. Volunteers are welcome to join breakfast, lunch, and dinner daily at the hospitality sites. Annunciation House can provide housing for individual volunteers (up to three volunteers); larger groups would be responsible for arranging their own housing and local transportation in and around El Paso. Please contact UUCSJ if you need support finding low-cost or free housing in El Paso.

El Paso is a 4 to 4.5 hour drive from Tucson, Arizona and Albuquerque, New Mexico, and an 8 hour drive from San Antonio, Texas. Round trip flights range from $150 to $400+ depending on your home airport.

Please carefully read through the Frequently Asked Questions before submitting an application. Volunteers must be ready to jump into the work following a brief training, and recognize that while you will always be part of a team, there is not capacity for individualized support for volunteers, and you will be expected to take initiative.

FM4 Paso Libre: Volunteer Dates

All volunteers must stay a minimum of one month. Longer volunteer placements are preferred.

The start dates are: January 2019, May 2019, and August 2019.

FM4 Paso Libre: Cost and Logistics

Volunteers are housed at the Care Center in Guadalajara (with gendered floors) where the majority of work is performed. Any transportation outside of the shelter and organization area is the responsibility of the volunteer. There is a strict evening curfew at the shelter to keep all tenants safe. Roundtrip flights to Guadalajara can range from $300 to $600+.

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