The milestone comes as La Posada experiences an unexpected surge in the numbers of families seeking emergency shelter and assistance.
“We were not expecting to reach the 7,000 client mark this year,” said Program Director Sister Zita Telkamp, CDP. “But the number of immigrants referred to our shelter has dramatically increased in the past few months.”
Founded in 1989 by the Sisters of Divine Providence, La Posada offers shelter for immigrants, asylum seekers and asylees recently processed by U.S. immigration authorities. The shelter provides clients with safe shelter, food, local transportation, and supportive services that help them take the necessary steps to achieve self-sufficiency and responsible integration into U.S. culture.
Much of the recent influx in clients is attributed to gang violence from different Central American countries.
“These families are fleeing from violent gangs who threaten their lives and the takeover of their homes,” Sister Zita said. “Trying to find a safe place for their children, they abandon families, friends, and everything they love and know to embark on perilous journeys to seek refuge in the United States.”
Many of these clients are mothers with children.
Just in the months of September and October combined, La Posada served more than 300 mothers and children-almost the same amount of total clients as the shelter served for the entire 2012 calendar year.
“If it weren’t for our shelter, these families would have spent their nights in the streets suffering from hunger and the cold wind,” said Development Coordinator Alma Gonzalez.
As La Posada prepares to meet the increasing demand for its services, we wish to thank all the donors, volunteers and staff who have made serving all of those 7,000 clients possible.
“Seven thousand people have come through our doors destitute, looking for a reason to hope-looking for a better life in this country,” Sister Zita said. “To know we have, in one way or another, helped each one of them gives me an incredible sense of satisfaction. Everyone who has been part of our mission should feel proud too. It couldn’t be done without you.”