Bringing Warm Blankets to Those Displaced at the Border Says, “I See You.”

Wind rips unapologetically through the daytime streets of Juarez, taking your breath, and nighttime temperatures plunge into the twenties. A man in a hand-me-down jacket and basketball shorts huddles against a building’s brick wall, trying to keep warm. Frost settles in.

Winter has arrived in Juarez, a city along the US Mexico border, and with it, thousands of people a day seeking safety. Arriving daily on the tops of cargo train box cars, migrants are usually ill-prepared for the cold weather and the below-freezing temperatures. Shelters and local NGOs do what they can, but most of the time, there is not enough space or cold-weather supplies inside the shelters. 

But thanks to our community of peacebuilders, a beacon of warmth emerged in the form of 560 blankets, a modest yet profound gesture to warm those facing the harsh reality of displacement and the biting chill of the season. A little before Christmas, we embarked on a mission to bring 560 blankets to several shelters we support to offer comfort to those seeking safety. We consider a blanket to be a symbol of care and solidarity. At the migrant shelters, blankets offered families a shield against the harsh cold, a reminder that our shared humanity prevails amidst uncertainty when we show others compassion and care.

“Nothing matters to me more than human life.” This quote, by Saint Oscar Romero, hangs at the entrance of a migrant shelter we supported with our blanket distribution in Juarez. 

At a shelter run by Pastor Fierro, the blankets your generosity made possible came at the exact right moment. “We were desperate because it’s winter and especially Christmas, and we didn’t have any gifts to give to our migrants. We were searching for this help, and as a miracle, it arrived at the precise moment when we needed it most. Thank you very much. There’s no doubt that God’s timing is perfect,” Pastor Fierro beamed, his eyes glowing with the warmth of gratitude.

“These blankets are of excellent quality. This was our Christmas miracle. Thanks for doing this for us,” Pastor Carl, who runs another shelter, said.

We also noticed a nursing home with many needs, so we brought some blankets on Christmas Eve. As older adults wrapped themselves in warmth, their faces became illuminated, not just by the blankets but by the kindness they felt.

We provided blankets at an event called “Women’s Services Fair,” which provided necessities for displaced women, girls, adolescents, and members of the LGBTQI+ community. Photo by our local partner

Thanks to the generosity of our community, we were able to provide not just physical warmth to displaced and vulnerable people but also the warmth of compassion, given when it was needed most in Juarez. Bringing blankets will not fix the situation at the border, but a small act of kindness lets people know they are seen.

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