I am sitting in a meeting with a homeless organization called Silver Deming Linings (which is an inspiring story in itself) when a volunteer comes walking in a bit late sharing how over 170 asylum seekers have been dropped off at a local McDonald’s 24 hours ago. A group of volunteers have been setting up an emergency shelter for them at the local fairgrounds. Deming, NM is in what is considered the poorest county in the poorest state, and now will be receiving hundreds of ‘houseless’ on a daily basis, along with the ones who already live on the streets of this city, not to mention the numerous Veterans needing assistance. What I will say is that I have witnessed some truly rich hearts in this city!
Now, as a motorcycle-riding Animal Chaplain, I get posts from motorcycle groups, and ‘just happened’ to receive one from a group of motorcyclists in Las Cruces who delivered thousands of “Pack Away Hunger” meals to Asylum Seekers there. My thought was, Las Cruces has many resources than Deming! What about little known Deming!?
My nonprofit (Apithan Ministries/AHOWAN Sanctuary) reached out to “Pack Away Hunger” … How can we get meals sponsored and delivered here? And, because of the concerns (rightfully so) that we need to care for those that are already in our town, as well as the Asylum Seekers, can we get meals for them as well because resources have been stretched considerably due to accommodating the Asylum Seekers. They responded generously and eagerly. This is how it goes…
Pack Away Hunger is a nonprofit who packs emergency nutrient rich meals that are sponsored by individuals or organizations. Within a week, we got sponsored by another nonprofit (an anonymous church) for our 32,000 meals (estimated at $9,000)!! All my organization needed to do was to come up with the shipping costs, which we were told the shipment to NM was about $550. So we (Apithan Ministries/AHOWAN Sanctuary) put out a fundraiser and raised $600, a little over just to be safe.
The meals get packed. They are ready to ship. We have raised the funds; however, upon contacting shipping companies, even with their ‘so-called’ discounts, we were looking at $2000 to ship them to us! Pack Away Hunger said, “Let us look into some other options and see what we can do. Rest assured, we will get these meals to you somehow.”
The next nonprofit organization steps up within a week. The Orphan Grain Train has a semi coming to El Paso (to another nonprofit missionary church) and will gladly put our 5 pallets on the truck; however, we must pick up the meals on the morning the semi-truck arrives. The missionary church has nowhere to store them to await our arrival. AND Pack Away Hunger had already checked on how much we can rent a UHaul for. It is within the $600 we raised! Now to schedule/rent the UHaul, find a driver and some loading/unloading assistance! The call is put out, and three enthusiastic volunteers step forward! All the arrangements are made. The recipients are contacted.
So, the morning of the Orphan Grain Train’s semi-truck arrival, 3 men and UHaul truck meet up at the missionary church. After unexpectedly assisting unloading a semi-full of donated clothing there in El Paso to reach the 5 pallets of meals destined for Deming, NM, they load up 5 pallets of meals and drive to Deming, NM several hours behind schedule to unload and distribute these 7,500 lbs worth of vegan MRE style meals. (Yes, they are vegan, which for my nonprofit is a huge bonus of integrity! These meals are compassionate for ALL Animals)
They reach Deming, NM and are quite determined to fulfill the promise of delivering these 32,000 donated meals to all 4 of the destined nonprofits that day! The recipients: Helping Hands in care of the Healing House (domestic violence women’s shelter), Veteran’s Assistance, Deming Silver Linings (homeless assistance), and the Asylum Seekers. And they succeeded and still made the deadline of the 5:00 PM return of the UHaul truck! What a team effort! One of the volunteers stated, “Wow! I have met so many wonderful people today, from the semi-driver, to the helpers in El Paso, to all of the folks in Deming!”
AND what a team effort of all these ‘not-so-well-known nonprofits’ coordinating through this series of events to benefit the souls all these nonprofits are serving … and they are all strictly volunteers (non of these nonprofits have paid employees that I am aware of and if so, I am sure it is quite minimal.)
What a Godsend, a series of synchronized events and dedicated people which brings tears to my eyes, hope to my heart, awe to my Soul, and a renewed faith in our humanity. I feel so gratefully blessed to have gotten to witness this generous web of nonprofits and heart-centered people that was weaved by our One God, which truly is the only one that could have synchronized all this with such Grace.