Greeting Migrants Arrivals With Team TLC NYC
Picture this, if you will. You are part of a team of four volunteers, ready to welcome new migrants to NYC. You stand near a doorway in Port Authority, all set to offer hand sanitizers to new migrants who have just finished a 3-day bus trip from Texas. Another volunteer has a bag of small stuffed animals ready to give to the children. The last two volunteers have bottles of water for the weary, thirsty travelers. The first migrants walk through the door. We applaud them, cry out “Bienvenidos”, and smile. They look surprised, glad to feel welcomed, and smile at us.
On Tuesday, Nicole Niedringhaus, Christine Meyer, Rob & Katherine Huntington, and I did exactly that. We had signed up with Team TLC NYC, which joins the Mayor’s Office on Immigrant Affairs (MOIA) for the early morning greeting shift at Port Authority. On arrival, we sorted bags and bags of clothes and shoes into piles the migrants could look through and take. However, before we had finished sorting, MOIA called us back to the main area to welcome the new arrivals. We were honored to witness people, who desperately want to live with dignity, begin another leg in their long journey.
When they were all off the bus, we offered them donuts while MOIA had them fill out forms. There is nothing like sugar when you’re tired. Then the fun and the serious work began. MOIA called one family at a time over to the clothes. The families were wearing summer clothes, many with flip-flops. We had warm clothes and shoes. The children enjoyed the clothes and had a little fun. One little boy was so happy that he hugged me. After an hour, Rob saw that we were running out of men’s clothing and went home to get some.
When the 53 people had one or two items of warm clothes, MOIA moved them along. They waved goodbye to us, and we wished them well. There was time for the next shift of volunteers to prepare for the next busload of people. There weren’t a lot of clothes for the next three buses expected that day.
If you would like to donate clothing to Team TLC NYC, please visit https://docs.google.com/document/d/1-2v9l6JFhd81Yd1VkEnEB6g7AeyXI77oOAtjTS_7Nt0/edit.
If you would like to volunteer, please contact Laura de Boisblanc at [email protected].
— Laura de Boisblanc