Stepping Forward to Help During the U.S. Border Crisis

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Stepping Forward to Help During the U.S. Border Crisis

The Blythe Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in California has helped immigrants and refugees entering the U.S. from its southern border for months. Since 2018 the congregation has provided assistance for the homeless. Photo from the North American Division

As was reported by the Los Angeles Times, a way that a Seventh-day Adventist Church in Blythe, California (part of the Southeastern California Conference), has addressed community needs is by setting up a shelter at their church. The church, which starting helping the homeless in 2018, has been doing this for several months, and local Adventist Community Services Disaster Response (ACS DR) leaders have requested assistance.

“The city of Blythe has been taking in refugees during the last three months,” reported W. Derrick Lea, ACS DR director. “Intricately involved in this activity has been the Blythe Central Seventh-day Adventist Church. First, the local church was assisting Riverside County with temporary housing for families that were being housed in California after crossing into the U.S. The county asked if organizations would provide lodging while it was determined where the people would be sent on a more permanent basis. The Blythe church volunteered to be one such place of refuge.”

The church reported that at the height of this arrangement, they were inundated with upwards of a couple hundred people at any given time. This brought challenges to the church, which was not equipped to adequately handle crowds of this capacity. “The church tried to meet the needs with local church resources,” said Lea.

Blythe church gives away clothing during visitor's 3-day stay at the church after crossing the U.S. southern border

The Blythe Central Seventh-day Adventist Church in California gives away clothing to people staying at the church after crossing the southern border of the U.S. Photo provided by North American Division ACS DR

After the church’s work was publicized, the conference learned of the congregation’s role. The Southeastern California Conference ACS became aware of some of these needs and reached out to the NAD. “Since that contact, we have offered support and communicated with them about what assistance we might give,” Lea added.

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