The Salvation Army provides humanitarian aid to migrants in El Paso
By: Joanna Estrada
When Casa del Refugiado, the largest migrant shelter in El Paso, closed on August 6, 2022, The Salvation Army had provided 180,697 total meals. Although that specific project has ended, The Salvation Army has continued its mission to meet human need in His name without discrimination. The Salvation Army in El Paso has continuously participated in community collaborations to deal with emergency situations like the ongoing migrant crisis in El Paso as well as COVID-19 surges among the homeless population.
The Salvation Army served 26,927 total meals in El Paso in December—a 106% increase in monthly meals compared to October. “Our greatest challenge right now is keeping up with sudden migrant surges and making sure we have enough food for everyone,” says Lorine Villa, Project Manager. “These fluctuating numbers mean we don’t always know how many we will need to serve.” The Salvation Army helps at the County Processing Center, providing a fixed feeding site as well as distribution of hygiene kits. The operation serves about 500-1200 meals per day.
The Salvation Army is involved in a second project to continue its feeding operations at several hotels for homeless families and individuals that test COVID-positive. This is three meals per day, all of which are in the shelter kitchen before being transported to participating hotels.
The Salvation Army homeless shelter is also providing relief for the humanitarian crisis. The shelter operates on a first come first serve basis, serving both the local homeless population as well as migrants in need of a place to stay. Currently, about 40% of the residents at the shelter are migrants, many with children too. Several of the migrants are regularly attending church services at the El Paso Citadel Corps, and the children are becoming more involved in youth programs.
“These families came to The Salvation Army because they needed a helping hand, and it’s great to see them reach for spiritual support,” says Major Floiran Estrada, Commanding Officer. “That’s exactly what we’re here to do—to be good neighbors for our neighbors in need.”