While there isn’t a “typical day” at Annunciation House, the days seem to follow a similar pattern. In the morning, those families who will be traveling to join their sponsors are asked to gather their belongings and report to the lobby where volunteer drivers will take them to the bus station or airport. From there, they will begin the next portion of their journey. Families are given a food bag with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and some snacks. If they are traveling by bus, bottles of water are added. The site is then prepared for the new refugees who will be arriving later in the day. Rooms are cleaned, new food bags packed and the supply room restocked if donations were received through the night.
Once the buses bring the new arrivals, each family goes through an intake process where their sponsors are contacted and travel arrangements confirmed. After intake, they are assigned a room for the evening. From there, our guests go to the supply room where we give them whatever items are available to make their stay a little more comfortable before being escorted to their rooms.
We try to complete all intakes before dinner is served as this helps to keep the system running smoothly. As we have no control over when the buses will arrive, sometimes this works and sometimes we are scrambling to complete intakes and serve food to the 100+ people who arrive each day. All of this takes a great day of coordinating and our site coordinator, Teva, is amazing. He is an absolute example of grace under pressure. He listens to every request and answers in a calm and reassuring manner. Without knowing it, Teva, is a wonderful example of living the Charism of the Sisters of St. Joseph – love of neighbor with neighbor and neighbor with God.
My prayer today is that we make each person we encounter feel welcome and we can not only listen to but find a way to answer their needs, lighten their load and help them on their journey. Please continue to join me as I share experiences “On the Road to El Paso”.