St. Cyprian's church collecting hygiene items to aid immigrant c - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

St. Cyprian's church collecting hygiene items to aid immigrant children at the border

Community members gather at St. Cyprian's to watch a documentary about immigrant children Community members gather at St. Cyprian's to watch a documentary about immigrant children
LUFKIN, TX (KTRE) - A recent Associated Press poll revealed that 53 percent of Americans think the United States does not have a moral obligation to offer refugees asylum but a Lufkin church disagrees.

St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church is starting their first campaign to gather supplies to send down to the border to offer some comforts as they make their way through the immigration system.

A church at the U.S. - Mexico border started collecting and packaging hygiene items and snacks for the thousands of immigrant children in limbo at the border and now St. Cyprian's in Lufkin is joining that effort.

"Either money donations would be great but more so we'd like to do hygiene items because the kids coming across the border don't really have any sort of hygiene," said Jordan Dietz, St. Cyprian's youth minister. "So we're sending them with toothpaste, toothbrushes all that sort of stuff to travel with them as the government sends them to who knows where."

Lufkin native, Leigh Ainsworth spent the past two years working with an organization in San Antonio that provides kids that are detained in immigrant shelters with information about their legal rights.

"It's a very humbling experience to talk to these kids because all of them have different life stories. It takes a lot of courage to share those stories especially with me, a complete stranger," said Ainsworth. "Some of their experiences range from really violent pasts whether it be from gangs or family violence and some of them it's just sheer poverty. Their family can't afford to send them to school so they feel they need to come work to provide for their parents and their younger siblings."

Ainsworth says the majority of the kids have no idea what is going to happen to them but believes that as Americans we should do whatever we can to help.

"It should be a political issues of whether we're going to take care of them or whether we're going to house them or how we're going to house them. It shouldn't be an issue of how quickly we should deport them. These are children first and foremost," said Ainsworth. "I think that the U.S. really has to look at itself and decide if the U.S. wants to be a country where human rights are a priority and where protecting children is a priority or if we want to be a country where we send kids back.

And help is what St. Cyprian's is asking for. The church will be collecting travel size hygiene items, clothing, toys and monetary donations.

"Whatever we can do to help the world is something we need to do as Christians," said Dietz.
You can drop donations off at St. Cyprian's Episcopal Church on the loop in Lufkin or call 936-639-1253.

For more information and insight on the immigrant children on the border here's the link to the documentary Lufkin community members watched Wednesday at St. Cyprian's: http://www.refugees.org/refugee-voices/migrant-children/which-way-home-documentary-on.html


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