Responding to the need created by the sudden influx of homeless migrant families in Riverside County, Adventist believers from the Blythe Spanish church are providing help in the form of food, lodging, and clean clothing.
According to an article published by the Desert Sun in April, “On March 28, Yuma sector Border Patrol officials started releasing migrant families from their custody, because their three processing centers—including one in Blythe—were overflowing with recently apprehended migrant families.”
Jesus Jacquez, pastor of the Blythe church, reported that his congregation first got involved in providing help to local homeless in the spring of 2018 when the church was approached by Riverside University Health System’s “HHOPE” program about providing aid.
The church responded by inviting homeless people to their facility to take showers, to get clean clothes during the weekdays, and to eat a hot meal. This year, the church expanded their outreach ministry to include providing a place for homeless migrants to stay overnight, access to on-site social workers, and free Bibles and copies of Steps to Christ (Camino a Cristo).
The church’s outreach efforts are made possible solely through donations from church members and the local community, which have included funding, clothes, food, and volunteers. Jacquez shared that his small congregation has stepped up to help even though the church struggles to cover their growing outreach expenses.
For now, the congregation provides various services for an average of 70 people each day.
“The primary reason the church became involved was because we wanted to become active in the community,” Jacquez said. “The migrant crisis is an opportunity to help. We have the facility, so we went forward by faith.”
For the Blythe church, now is the time to apply the words of Leviticus 19:34: “The foreigner residing among you must be treated as your native-born. Love them as yourself” (NIV).
Learn more about the Riverside County humanitarian crisis at: http://www.desertsun.com.
To learn more about how you can support the Blythe church outreach efforts, call 760-922-0644.
Church members tend a booth with free books and magazines in Spanish for migrants.