Los Alamos Congregations Join Colores United Donation Drive To Support Asylum Seekers

By CATHLEEN SCHALLER
Los Alamos

… Donation boxes are available outside Unitarian Church and United Church, Pajarito Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints and Los Alamos Jewish Center also will collect donations among their congregations.

National news sources are full of stories of busloads of asylum seekers arriving in New York, Chicago and Washington, D.C. Political controversy puts these immigrants, and the cities hosting them, squarely into the spotlight.

Not making national news? The relatively small town of Deming, New Mexico (population 14,083). But something very newsworthy is happening in Deming. It’s home to Colores United, a charitable organization that focuses on building community. They have programs as diverse as a fine arts studio, a culinary training program run inside a working diner, and support programs that provide Deming residents with basic necessities (food, toiletries, school supplies). They also have a shelter program that has been welcoming busloads of immigrant asylum seekers.

Colores United co-founder Ariana Saludares spoke with Tyler Taylor, a Los Alamos resident and Unitarian church member. She informed Tyler that Colores United has recently been hosting around 250 asylum seekers weekly. On the day she spoke with Tyler, they had received a busload of about 50 immigrants, mostly from Cuba, Venezuela and Brazil. Many of these immigrants had made the long journey from as far as South America primarily on foot, some traveling as families.

The buses continue to come, bringing new groups of asylum seekers almost every day. Regardless of their country of origin, all the asylum seekers arrive exhausted and in need of help. Colores United provides several days of shelter, food, showers and clean clothing while immigrants contact sponsors (usually family members) to arrange their next portion of travel within the United States. Shelter space usually fills with new arrivals as soon as the old ones move along.

250 weekly arrivals is an amazing number. For comparison, Texas governor Greg Abbott began busing immigrants to Washington D.C. in April, and in the intervening months has sent an average of 450-500 immigrants weekly. Deming, with its limited resources, is receiving about half the number of weekly immigrants as Washington D.C. Remarkable!

Several Los Alamos religious congregations are now working together to collect donations and support Colores United. Beginning Sept. 15, donation boxes are available outside of the Unitarian Church (1438 N. Sage Loop). Donations will be collected through Oct. 15 and then delivered to Colores United. The United Church, the Pajarito Ward of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints, and the Los Alamos Jewish Center also will collect donations among their congregations.

Donations via check are especially appreciated because of the flexibility monetary donations provide, allowing Colores United to purchase supplies tailored to their current, ever-changing needs. Checks should be made out to Colores United and mailed to either the Unitarian Church (1438 N. Sage Loop) or the United Church (2525 Canyon Road). These checks will be held until mid October and delivered with the other donations.

All donations to Colores United are tax deductible. For more information on Colores United, go to coloresunited.org, or to the Colores United Facebook page. For more information regarding this donation drive, contact Cathleen Schaller (cathy.schaller@icloud.com).

Requested donations (current most needed items):

  • Underwear (NEW, all sizes/ages/genders)
  • Socks (NEW, all sizes/ages/genders)
  • Jeans (Men’s size 28-38)
  • Jeans (Women’s size 0-12)
  • Jeans (Youth all sizes)
  • Jackets (All sizes/ages/genders)
  • Shoes (close toed, comfortable, all sizes)

Food (non perishable, unexpired)

  • cereal
  • meat
  • vegetables
  • baby food
  • soup
  • drinks/juices

Bulk packaging is appreciated to make food easier to sort and transport

Toiletries

  • toilet paper
  • wipes
  • deodorant

Miscellaneous

  • cell phone chargers
  • wall adaptors
  • charging strips/power strips
LOS ALAMOS

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