Name: Jaime Humberto Ramirez
From: Harlingen, TX
School: Harlingen School of Health Professions
for Refugee Immigrants
Marifel was just a little girl who must have been about six years
old. She had a Barbie doll in her hand. It was donated, just like
the other toys that were in the play area that we were at. “Donde
eres?” I asked her. She replied, “Guatemala.” I asked her
where she was heading and she told me that they were sending her
family off to Houston. I told her it’s a very big city.
It was an
amazing experience to volunteer at the refugee benefit. I live on
the Mexican border, and when immigrant refugees would get apprehended
by Border Patrol, we would take them in to give them a fresh meal,
clothes, and a shower before they went to the detention center.
I remember the first time I went to go volunteer. As I walked into
the Church Parish hall, it looked like a thrift store. Piles and
piles of clothes were folded and stacked in the center of the room
and, lining the walls, were jackets and button-down clothing on
hangers. There was a section to my immediate left next to the
sign-in booth that held lots of shoes on racks. Miguel gave us a
tour of the vicinity (I had taken our Politics Club at school with
me, I was their founder and president). He showed us how the piles
of clothes were organized, showed us the play area, and another area
filled with baby goods like baby formula and diapers. There was a
space with tables to eat at and, in a separate room behind, was the
kitchen. Outside were the showers. They were small compartments and
simple. Shampoo and soap were under a canopy that was set up.
would be coming in about an hour, so a few of us got to organizing
clothes. “Is Hannah coming Eryk?” I asked. “Yeah, she should
be here in a minute. There’s so many clothes, people really care
about these refugees.” I couldn’t agree with him more. It was a
beautiful thing to see people care about giving back and helping out.
There was a tall pile of bags upon bags filled with clothes, they
looked like a mountain. I remember thinking that all of us
volunteers could have taken a wardrobe each and it wouldn’t have
made a dent on the amount of clothes that were there.
refugees started coming, their stories were very inspiring to hear.
Families would come in. One man came in with his young son. The
Border Patrol told him that he was going to live in New Jersey. He
started talking about how he hoped to see his wife again. She was
going to be sent to Massachusetts. They weren’t allowed to go
outside of 30 miles of the city that they were assigned to, and his
wife was going to be sent to a city over 30 miles away. I went to go
get him and his son heavy jackets. It’s very cold in Jersey.