Tiffany Zook

Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition Officer and Secretary Tiffany Zook finishes preparing a “welcome” backpack donated by Hill Country Bible Church in Dripping Springs, Texas.

The Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition received backpacks from the Hill Country Bible Church in Dripping Springs, Texas.

“It’s basically a welcome backpack, because the people coming in arrive with nothing,” Val Verde Border Humanitarian Coalition Officer and Secretary Tiffany Zook said.

Zook added immigrants only arrive with the clothes on their back, and since the first day the coalition has created similar bags for them.

Dripping Springs lies near the state capital, Austin, Texas and church volunteers drove an estimated four hours to help the coalition for a week.

Each family from the Dripping Springs church adopted a backpack and added a blanket, a health kit, a coloring book and crayons, travel snacks, a reusable water bottle and other necessities.

“They (the immigrants) do need to protect their travel documents, their immigration documents; make sure they are hidden away,” Zook said. She added these papers are the only form of identification for them and the backpack protects the documents.

Another donation received from Dripping Springs were slings and baby carriers.

“There was a team from the same Bible church that collected slings and baby carriers. So then the mamas didn’t have to carry (their baby) and they’d have an arm free,” Zook said.

The slings and baby carriers were handed out quickly, with only one sling available to give out on Tuesday. Zook added the slings and carriers are highly needed and the coalition is hoping to receive some as donations.

The coalition is looking for reusable water bottles, pre-packaged snacks and shoelaces. Supplies are distributed the moment a group arrives at the Chihuahua Neighborhood facility and it leads to some supplies running out in a short time span.

People interested in volunteering can sign up through the coalition’s Facebook page or show up at the Chihuahua center between 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Zook added the coalition is always in need of volunteers, especially on weekends.

“Border Patrol doesn’t stop on weekends and neither do we,” Zook said.

The coalition continues to work with U.S. Border Patrol and help the released immigrants connect quickly with their sponsors and obtain same day travel.

Translators are a priority, but Zook said there is something for everyone to contribute with.

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