Bay City— Volunteers in central Michigan are rallying to provide blankets and other supplies to unaccompanied children who crossed into the U.S. at the Mexican border.
Dozens of people gathered in Messiah Lutheran Church Wednesday night to make fleece blankets for 24 immigrant children, the Bay City Times reported. The volunteers made 30 blankets by cutting long strips along the edges of two pieces of fabric and tying them together.
Gwen Daeschlein of Bay City said she hopes someone would help the children in her family if they were in need.
“I don’t care what it is, kids need help and they need to feel comfortable and at home, and they need to feel safe,” she said.
The immigrant children will be relocated to a facility in Bay City by the end of the month. Children are also expected to be housed in another facility in Farmington Hills. A plan to house some in Vassar has met with numerous protests.
Another volunteer pointed out the children will most likely experience winter for the first time while they’re in Michigan.
Rick Green, a member of the church, agreed with the blanket-making volunteers.
“You need to separate the political questions from the humanitarian questions,” he said. “How are they going to keep warm?”
Andreas Teich, pastor at Messiah Lutheran, said he and other community leaders plan to meet in the coming weeks to discuss other needs of the children.
Sandra Rogers, a local resident, administers the Facebook group “Bay City United for Children.” She said her group, which includes about 110 people, also plans to provide more donations. She said they could organize a winter clothing drive and donate coloring books and crayons to the children at the shelter.
“Because it’s federally funded, they’re going to have the funds to get them the bare necessities,” Rogers said. “What we want to do is give the kids more.”
About 63,000 unaccompanied children, mostly from Honduras, Guatemala and El Salvador, entered the U.S. from October to July, double the number from the same period a year earlier. The numbers slowed in July, possibly due to temperatures climbing at the U.S.-Mexico border.
U.S. cities and towns have been asked to identify facilities where children can be temporarily housed.