Refugees

Here’s How to Help Refugees in Texas with Knitting

With Team Brownsville, you can help refugees seeking asylum on the Texas border through knitting and crochet

Team Brownsville - helping refugees at the southern border

Every Monday morning, at my Facebook group, I ask members there what they’ll be working on in the upcoming week.

My Facebook group is basically a virtual charity knitting circle! All of us enjoy hearing and seeing what others are working on. Many members say that it offers them valuable inspiration to continue their own works.

Recently, a member named Sylvia responded with the following:

“Finishing up 20 bears for Team Brownsville. All crocheted, stuffed & sewn together…now for faces & ‘baths’ (gotta wash them) before being sent to children at the border.”

The last four words — children at the border — immediately caught my attention. I’ve received many inquiries lately about how knitters and crocheters can help children at the US’ southern border.

(Not surprising, considering the awful conditions there that we’re only just starting to fully recognize. Which break my heart and, I know, the hearts of many.)

Photo: Team Brownsville

Before now, I usually had only response. I love to promote the Welcome Blanket Project. They currently run an On Call program in conjunction with the International Rescue Committee (IRC).

But now, I was excited at the possibility of opening another avenue for charity knitters & crocheters.

I asked Sylvia for more information, and this is what she shared with me.

Team Brownsville: Heartfelt Help to Refugees Seeking Asylum

First, I was heartened to hear that more than one group is working to provide urgent help to refugees at the North/South American border. Sylvia mentioned that Team Brownsville is one of three groups she offers help to. However, Team Brownsville is the one that she knows accepts knitted/crocheted items.

Photo: Team Brownsville

Sylvia currently sends teddy bears she has crocheted to Team Brownsville. She also told me that they also will accept knitted/crocheted dolls as well as soap sacks.

What, exactly, is Team Brownsville? I took this directly from the home page of their website:

Humanitarian Assistance for Asylum Seekers

Together we work to help asylum seekers who find themselves in Brownsville, Texas and at the Brownsville/Matamoros international bridges.

Team Brownsville volunteers help families and individuals legally seeking asylum in the United States.

The team currently manages three programs:
Breakfast at the bridge
Dinner at the bridge
Assistance at the bus station”

Photo: Team Brownsville

Breakfast and dinner at the bridge is exactly what it sounds like. Team Brownsville provides meals for families and individuals who are awaiting the opportunity to cross the border legally and seek asylum.

Assistance at the bus station, meanwhile, offers help to those who have been released from detention and are ready to move on. Again, from their website:

Team Brownsville is currently meeting the needs of asylum seekers at the bus station in the evening, serving a meal and distributing needed supplies such as diapers, wipes, sanitary napkins, shoelaces and belts to those who need them.

We also bring Spanish language books, coloring books and crayons and small soft toys/dolls to distribute to the children.

We also help people understand their tickets, by reviewing bus changes and making a map showing where they are going.

Volunteer presence there at the bus station is critical, because many families have been traumatized during their journey north as well as in immigration custody.”

Photo: Team Brownsville

This is critical work. Honestly, it sickens me that it’s necessary. But, at the same time, I’m tremendously thankful that Team Brownsville is there for these folks.

How You Can Help

Knitters and crocheters can create soft toys and soap sacks, like Sylvia is currently doing.

Photo: Team Brownsville

You can find delightful bear knitting patterns here. Bev’s Country Cottage also offers knitted and crocheted doll and bear patterns here.

Crocheted bear for Team Brownsville - helping refugee children
Photo: Sylvia Mayfield

(You can find the crochet pattern for the bear shown here at this link!)

Eventually, they will need items like blankets, scarves, and hats. Asylum seekers are staying in tents, and it will soon begin growing colder. You may want to follow Team Brownsville on Facebook to keep track of their needs.

When you’ve got a collection you would like to send, you can send it to:
Team Brownsville
c/o Storage Perfecto
1045 Mexico Blvd
Brownsville, Texas 78520 .

If you’d like to send letters, gift cards, or checks, you can send those to this address:
Team Brownsville
P.O. Box 3945
Brownsville, Texas 78523

I personally want everyone who seeks asylum in the United States to know that they are safe and we do want to help them. If you feel this way, too? I encourage you to create some handmade love so Team Brownsville can share it with people in search of safety and a better life.

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