Project Oak Tree is an initiative of the Catholic Diocese of Las Cruces, to help documented refugees and their families seeking asylum from Guatemala, Honduras, San Salvador and other countries, to reach their families in the United States.
It started approximately around 2014 and shortly after First Christian Church joined in the processing. At that time FCC congregation members took families into their homes for 2 -7days, feed them, clothed them, bought phones for them, made travel arrangements and took them to El Paso Airport or the Bus Station in Las Cruses to continue their journey. Today the project has expanded to accommodate larger numbers of refuges that are processed thru El Calvario Methodist Mission Church, The Franciscan Retreat House, and several other Churches better equipped to handle the situation than First Christian Church. However, several members of First Christian Church are still very much involved and FCC contributes money on a monthly basis to help feed the refugees.
The refugees arrive every Tuesday evening around 5-5:30pm at the El Calvario Methodist Church in Las Cruces from the Annunciation House in El Paso Texas, where they have been processed and documented and given ankle bracelets by ICE. Members of several Churches and the public in Las Cruces are there to comfort them, prepare a meal for them, help them find donated clothes and toiletries, connect with their families in the United States and schedule transportation to reach their destination. It is a big job and obligation that is not going away any time soon, in fact it is of growing concern.
After considering, what was needed the most and not easy for host families to get. CELL PHONES!!! Our Faith Action Team here at First Christian has decided to initiate a drive to fund cell phones for the refugees. It is of vital importance that the refugees have the use of a cell phone when traveling long distances in a strange land and to be able to communicate their location with their host in Las Cruces and the family they are trying to reach. The cell phones cost $30 and the Minutes Card another $30. So we are talking $60 for a phone that provides some safety and assurance for these refugees continuing their journey
We are going to hold this fundraiser for the month of December in lieu of our DOC or UCC Holiday Offering, with the final collection on Sunday, December 23. We hope everyone realizes the importance of this need and supports your Faith Action Group of First Christian Church.
ALSO: Faith Action Group wants to look into – SPANISH SPEAKING CLASSES for the congregation at the Church. If anyone is aware of a teacher that could provide this service for a fee, or if you are seriously interested in taking classes, please let Reverend Donna or a Faith Action Group member know.