ALBANY PARK — Chicago nonprofits are gathering supplies to support immigrants arriving from Texas this week, and there are ways to help.
Texas Governor Greg Abbott is sending immigrant buses to Democrat-led cities. The first refugee bus to Chicago arrived last week and again on Wednesday night. Mayor Lori Lightfoot has said the city is coordinating with local organizations, but they will all need help supporting migrants.
Ald. Rossana Rodríguez-Sánchez (33rd) has been collecting donations at his office and delivered the items to the nonprofits Illinois Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights and Rincon Family Services.
The groups need underwear and shoes for adults and children, strollers, gift cards, reusable water bottles and electronic communication devices such as cell phones, laptops and tablets, coalition spokesman Brandon Lee said.
RELATED: Here’s how you can help immigrants coming to Chicago from Texas
“I would give special attention to tablets, computers or Chromebooks just because that’s how people will be looking for apartments, looking for jobs, communicating with their attorneys and communicating with people at home,” Lee said.
Rodríguez-Sánchez is accepting items at his district office, 3001 W. Irving Park Road, from noon to 7 p.m. Monday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Friday.
“We continue to work to make sure we have structures that can be sustainable in the long term because we don’t know how many more people are going to come in or how long this is going to happen,” Rodríguez-Sánchez said.
Donations can also be dropped off at the Coalition, 228 S. Wabash Ave., 8th Floor, and Rincon, 3942 W. North Ave. You can also donate to Rincon through PayPal and to the Illinois Coalition of Immigrant and Refugee Rights online.
Other members of the Latino Council of the City Council are also collecting donations.
Abbott, a Republican, has previously clashed with Mayor Lori Lightfoot and Governor JB Pritzker. Lightfoot, while promising support for immigrants, called Abbot’s policies racist and inhumane.
“He is trying to cause chaos. That’s the whole purpose of him doing this,” Abbott’s Rodríguez-Sánchez said.
Chicago nonprofits and other groups serving immigrant communities have stepped up to help, but Abbott’s decision to bus immigrants into the city has strained their resources, Lee said.
“We’ve had to use a lot of capacity to make sure people have a place to stay and food,” Lee said. “This has really been a moment of full engagement for many of our organizations. It really forced us to change the way we normally operate over the past week, for sure.”
The donation drives have been successful, Rodríguez-Sánchez said.
“We have been able to provide help to many families who desperately needed many of these items,” Rodríguez-Sánchez said. “I am super grateful that this is how our community responds when they know they are needed. When they know that there is trauma and that there is pain. People show each other. It’s a really beautiful thing.”
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