MESA, AZ — As the Department of Homeland continues to drop off busloads full of migrant families at the doorstep of Valley churches, volunteers are saying there is a desperate need for medical care and over-the-counter medication.
Many of the migrants and most of the children they are seeing are sick according to the staff at several churches.
"Mostly everybody as the flu, or throat problems, or a headache," said Pastor Angel Campos from the Monte Vista Baptist church that has provided shelter to more than 1,000 migrants in the last two months.
Late Friday afternoon, a bus full of migrant families dropped off dozens of migrants at the Nuevo Esperanza church in Mesa.
Pastor Israel Camacho said of the 20 children in the group, almost all of them were sick.
"If you see a kid that is sick how can you not do anything about it?" said Camacho.
Two nurses were at the church to provide medical attention to those who needed it. Among them was a 4-year-old migrant child who had a very high fever and said her feet hurt.
Jerry Greenberg, a retired nurse, was treating the child by feeding her over the counter medication through a small syringe.
"My whole family was refugees. It just broke my heart to see what is going on. They are just children who are sick, and I need to care for them," said Greenberg.
All of the volunteers at the church said they were putting the politics aside and were fueled by their faith and the spirit to serve, putting humanity above everything else.
Christy Bishop with the nonprofit group Gathering Humanity was dropping off donations at Monte Vista Baptist church on Friday. Her husband was a doctor who donated his time and expertise in treating many of the migrant children in many Valley churches.
She described what they had been observing.
"These children are exhausted. We've seen a lot of common colds, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach viruses from the different food and water they've been consuming," said Bishop.
Bishop said donations of children's Tylenol, children's Advil, adult Tylenol, and Pepto Bismol would be appreciated.
Many of the migrants have not had a plate of warm food in months. All the migrants being dropped off at Valley churches by ICE turned themselves in to border patrol agents in Arizona and had gone through the initial "credible fear" hearings as they were seeking asylum. The individuals who have been released have been given court dates to appear in federal court.
If you would like to help or donate you can contact the Valley churches listed here:
Gathering Humanity non-profit organization: (928) 421-3446
Monte Vista Baptist Church, Phoenix: (602) 273-7383
Iglesia Nueva Esperanza, Mesa: (480) 584-0999
Central Christian Church of Arizona: (480) 924-4946