The journey of a family of four came full circle after driving seven hours to help out at a local coalition.
Noel Jerke with his wife Maria Jerke and kids, Graci Jerke and Gage Jerke drove from Fort Worth, Texas and arrived in Del Rio Thursday evening, in order to help out the Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition.
“We just wanted to come and help,” Maria said.
The Jerke family initially heard of the coalition through the Texas River Baptist Ministry and were then put in contact with Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition President Shon Young.
When asked how they could help, Young responded by telling the family they could drive down and volunteer their time.
The Jerkes’ church, Rockpointe Church in Flower Mound, Texas helped them collect supplies.
“They (Rockpointe Church) helped us get some supplies, so we just stuffed our van with supplies and drove down,” Maria said.
The purpose of the trip meant a lot more to Noel and Maria, because they adopted their son Gage at the age of three from Haiti.
Gage does not remember much of his time in Haiti, but he was glad to help those in need.
“I don’t know much about them, aside that they (asylum-seekers) were being treated badly in the country they’re from,” Gage said.
During their time at the coalition, Gage helped put together baby strollers amongst other tasks; Maria helped with clothing distribution and translation for Spanish speaking asylum seekers.
Graci brought along a box of tools and supplies to make bracelets for the children. The bracelets consist of colored rubber bands tied together.
Noel stood close by the coalition officers and helped in any way possible.
The Jerkes stayed over the Fourth of July weekend in order to help out, find out more about the needs in Del Rio, what the coalition’s needs currently are and share that information with their community.
“When a lot of people found out about this (the immigration crisis) and had been reading a lot of the articles that have been posted on Facebook, a lot of them wanted to help and know more about what they can do,” Maria said.
Coalition officers and volunteers welcomed assistance from the Jerke family.
“If someone can drive for seven hours, then someone can drive for seven minutes,” Young said.
The coalition is looking for more volunteers every day. Current volunteers and the coalition officers do not get a day of rest.
Young added there is something for everybody to do at the center.
People interested in volunteering can fill out an online form through the coalition’s Facebook page or can stop by the Chihuahua Neighborhood Facility Center.