John Herrera, Catholic Charities’ Director of Immigration Legal Services, talks about hope in the midst of loss after visiting Medford, OR, to offer legal clinics and distribute hygiene items and other essential supplies to the individuals and families devastated by the recent wildfires.
“How do you classify the suffering of a person? You simply cannot. Imagine losing everything. And then imagine being an immigrant, who does not have legal status, and losing everything. Imagine being separated from your loved ones. Imagine worrying about receiving even a small amount of government aid because of losing your belonging in a fire. This is what some immigrants are worrying about right now because of the fires in Southern Oregon.
“Recently, a team from Catholic Charities visited Medford, OR. We saw many people striving to put their lives back together in the midst of extreme loss. The trauma and loss of the families who lost everything is a real calamity. Homes were burned to the ground. A lifetime of memories and possessions with sentimental value was lost and will never be able to be replaced. But despite this incalculable loss and need, I saw hope, love, and compassion for others in the midst of their own struggle.
“In speaking with the Latino community that attended the Holy Eucharist in the Church of the Sacred Heart of Jesus, we asked if anyone needed food urgently or some money. The answer astonished us: ‘No, thank God for now we are receiving some help, better save it for others who need it more.’ It is heartwarming to see the support offered to those affected by the fires and the strong faith and hope that people have as they rebuild their lives.
“Our legal services team is offering the possibility to request the replacement of immigration documents that were also lost in the flames that devoured everything in their path. Fortunately, the human loss was minimal. Nonetheless, the psychological and emotional damage to the children will be enormous and we need to provide support to those in Southern Oregon.”
Thank you, John and the entire Immigration Legal Services team, for assisting our brothers and sisters in greatest need. You can help, too. CLICK HERE to create hope for our vulnerable neighbors.