ARIZONA NEWS

St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona tests a temporary relief center for migrants

Mar 26, 2019, 4:34 AM

(KTAR News Photo/Nailea Leon)...

(KTAR News Photo/Nailea Leon)

(KTAR News Photo/Nailea Leon)

PHOENIX — As Valley churches continue to be overwhelmed with migrants released from federal detention, the Society of St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona is trying out a new way to help meet their needs.

The nonprofit opened a temporary day relief center on Friday as a test, with hopes of making it a regular program.

“We really were trying to provide an alternative to the Greyhound stations, because I understand that when there aren’t enough churches or organizations to accept folks being released, they release to the Greyhound station,” Jessica Berg, chief program officer, told KTAR News 92.3 FM on Monday.

“So our role has really been a safety net for folks, their families. There’s kids without diapers, without shoes, and we’re trying to provide the hospitality piece so they can come here and get those basic needs met.”

Berg said the nonprofit partnered with the International Rescue Committee to help migrants find overnight shelter, contact family members in the U.S. and make travel plans.

She said the relief center’s daily capacity is around 100, but they were able to serve 128 people on Friday.

They provided migrants with meals and snacks, water and coffee, clothes, backpacks, toys and hygienic products, she said.

“Hopefully we can keep this going for a couple months,” Berg said.

“What we’ve been told is (it’s) anticipated that the numbers may decrease as the weather gets warmer, and so we are trying to provide some relief until then.”

Last week, Mesa Pastor Magdalena Schwartz asked for help from local governments and churches as she told KTAR News that her network for assisting migrants is overwhelmed.

She said the churches she’s worked with have housed more than 40,000 migrants over the past five-plus months while travel plans were being confirmed, which can take a few days.

Henry Lucero, the Phoenix field director for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, told KTAR News last week that the federal government has no legal obligation to house migrants who have been released from overflowing detention centers.

Berg said the relief center isn’t just about providing resources, but also keeping migrants safe from possible threats like human trafficking.

“It’s not a political issue for us. It’s just kind of a morality and a crisis issue,” she said.

“There’s people in need, and we’ve always served people in need … where’s the crisis in the community and can we help?”

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Griselda Zetino contributed to this report. 

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

File photo of Phoenix Police cruiser with lights on at night...

KTAR.com

Collision leaves 1 dead, another seriously injured in north Phoenix

Police is investigating a collision that killed one adult man and seriously injured another in north Phoenix.

4 hours ago

File photo showing the side of a Phoenix police department SUV stopped in front of a wall on the si...

KTAR.com

South Phoenix collision leaves 1 dead, 2 others hospitalized

Phoenix detectives are investigating a collision Sunday morning that left one passenger dead, two other people hospitalized.

4 hours ago

(KTAR file photos)...

KTAR.com

Weekend wrap-up: Here are the biggest Phoenix news stories from March 1-3

From bad driving and airport expansions to crimes and sliders, here are some of the biggest stories in Phoenix from this weekend.

4 hours ago

The U.S. Supreme Court is seen, Thursday, Feb. 8, 2024, in Washington. The U.S. Supreme Court has h...

Associated Press

Supreme Court decision on Trump’s election status could come Monday morning

A SCOTUS decision could come Monday in the case about whether Trump can be kicked off the ballot over his efforts to undo his 2020 defeat.

5 hours ago

Republican presidential candidate former UN Ambassador Nikki Haley poses for a selfie after speakin...

Associated Press

Nikki Haley wins D.C. Republican primary, her first 2024 victory

Nikki Haley has won the Republican primary in the District of Columbia, notching her first victory of the 2024 campaign.

5 hours ago

FILE - A voting sign is seen near a voting center at Croft Baptist Church, Feb. 24, 2024, in Sparta...

Associated Press

A chunk of Republican primary and caucus voters say they wouldn’t vote for Trump as the GOP nominee

About 1 in 10 early contest voters who said they supported Trump in the 2020 general election said they wouldn’t be doing so this year.

8 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

...

Collins Comfort Masters

Here’s 1 way to ensure your family is drinking safe water

Water is maybe one of the most important resources in our lives, and especially if you have kids, you want them to have access to safe water.

...

Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Day & Night is looking for the oldest AC in the Valley

Does your air conditioner make weird noises or a burning smell when it starts? If so, you may be due for an AC unit replacement.

...

Fiesta Bowl Foundation

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade is excitingly upon us

The 51st annual Vrbo Fiesta Bowl Parade presented by Lerner & Rowe is upon us! The attraction honors Arizona and the history of the game.

St. Vincent de Paul of Arizona tests a temporary relief center for migrants