To shed light on the situation at the southern border of the U.S. and the refugees seeking to cross it, the Penn Yan Action Coalition sponsored a community event featuring volunteer Ann Meyer-Wilbur Saturday, March 2 at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Penn Yan. The organizers were astonished that their maximum planned attendance of 80 was exceeded by almost 50 percent.
The event began with a dinner prepared by learners in the English Language and Citizenship Class offered by Literacy Volunteers. The Central American dishes were met with great appreciation by the guests. After deducting the cost of the groceries, the donations to support for Annunciation House in El Paso, Texas totalled over $2,000.
Following the dinner, Meyer-Wilber gave her presentation with slides from her recent experience welcoming immigrant families in El Paso. For 3 weeks, she volunteered at Annunciation House, a resettlement agency. She helped welcome immigrant families seeking asylum in the U.S. after they were brought to Annunciation House after having been processed at border control.
“Annunciation House, the residents of El Paso, and the many volunteers who serve there are doing an incredible job of managing, as best they can, this situation that our government is, as Marjorie (a fellow volunteer) says, ‘grossly unprepared’ to deal with. People are stepping up to help, as they have been at Annunciation House and in El Paso for four decades now.”
The American Uber driver who picked her up at the El Paso airport denied the reports of violence from refugees in their city, and stated that the city’s merchants need the immigrants who come there with money, while the Americans make purchases online.