City, religious groups work to provide emergency shelter for mig - Tucson News Now

City, religious groups work to provide emergency shelter for migrant women, kids

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

Tucson News Now has confirmed that emergency beds will be opened up for migrant women and children dropped off at the Greyhound bus station.

The big concern is the up-coming Fourth of July weekend ahead.  It's a busy travel weekend, even at the Greyhound bus station. Advocates working with the immigrants said many of the migrant women and children might not be able to get seats on a bus right away, so there was a need for emergency shelter.

After a plea for help from the Catholic Diocese, Tucson Mayor Jonathan Rothschild's office has stepped up to help.

A steering committee of faith based groups and city leaders has been meeting to formulate a plan of action.

Rothschild said the group had met at least three times this week.  Those present apart from the Mayor, were staff from Catholic Community Services, the Jewish Federation, the Salvation Army, Councilwoman Regina Romero, and Councilman Steve Kozachik.

Jill Rich, the social action chair for the Jewish Community Relations Council and Temple Emmanuel said, what they did not want to see was migrant women and children sleeping on the floor of the Greyhound station, waiting for buses.

Rich said Temple Emmanuel had been part of the Salvation Army's Operation Deep Freeze for the last 20 years, and had the items necessary to open up an emergency shelter.

Mayor Rothschild said they hoped to use the Operation Deep Freeze model and ask faith based groups who were able to help, to step up and provide emergency beds for migrants.

Rothschild said this was all about the children.

"They have already been granted status by the United States government, granted a place to stay in the United States by the government.  All we need to do as a community is to make sure the safety net is there on a very temporary basis to assure these people they can get to where they need to go safely, and without being victimized," said Rothschild.

Rich said Temple Emmanuel was ready to help.

"This coming weekend we are going to house any of the children that need to be in a safe place during the holidays.  We're going to provide culturally appropriate food and a safe place to stay.  It's a large room, I don't know that it's the perfect place but it will be better than sleeping in benches or the floor of the Greyhound bus station," said Rich.

The group expected to set up 25 cots at the Temple Emmanuel next week.

Mike Gutierrez with Catholic Social Services said their office was flooded with calls from people who wanted to help.  Those interested in volunteering or providing shelter for the migrant women and children should contact Catholic Community Services.  They are still collecting donations of both items and money.

Here is a list of what they need:

Food for bus trips:
-Bottled water, Gatorade, Pedialyte, Ramen noodles in cups (chicken), snacks like granola bars and dried fruit (non-melting ingredients)

Travel Size toiletry items:
-Toothpaste, toothbrushes, hair combs/brushes, deodorant, lotion, hand sanitizer, sanitary pads for women

Baby/Child care items:
-Diapers (sizes 2,3, and 4), diaper cream, wipes (in travel packs), socks for children, underwear for children

Copyright 2014 Tucson News Now. All rights reserved.

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