Ways You Can Help Asylum Seekers at San Diego Border

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There's been an outpouring of support for asylum seekers at the border waiting their turn to go through the immigration process, and many in San Diego are wondering how they can lend a helping hand.

NBC 7 viewers have called in asking how they can help asylum seekers as well as San Diego local families who are struggling to put food on the table. You can jump in and help yourself, but first consider donating to or volunteering with local charities that are on the frontlines with direct access to people in need.

"We have about 1,500 beds per night in the three shelters that we operate and run," said Vino Pajanor, CEO of Catholic Charities of San Diego (CCSD).

Over the years, CCSD has helped almost 200,000 asylum seekers through the process by offering them food, clothing, and a place to stay. Pajanor said the majority of asylum seekers are at their shelter for less than two days.

"One of the things that they need is clothing. Many of them just have the clothes on their back. And then shoes. Some of them have crossed thousands of miles," Pajanor said.

Then there are the items that we take for granted, like undergarments and shoelaces. Pajanor said migrants' shoelaces are taken by immigration authorities as they're being processed.

CCSD is at about 70% shelter capacity, according to Pajanor. He said once they hit 85%, they start prioritizing people who they consider most vulnerable: women, children, the sick and the elderly.

A potential influx of migrants in need of food could put a strain on organizations like Feeding San Diego, which is already struggling to keep its shelves stocked for people in San Diego.

"We’re still seeing families that suffered financial setbacks from the pandemic, whether it’s job loss, family-member loss and sickness," said Carissa Casares with Feeding San Diego.

They work in collaboration with some of the shelters taking in asylum seekers, and they're asking for monetary donations to keep helping everyone through the tough times.

Viewers have reached out to NBC 7 asking if they're allowed to bring food and items directly to the border and the answer is yes, yes. But first, consider helping out these organizations and other trusted groups who are directly working with the asylum seekers and local families.

And if you want to vet a charitable group, check out CharityNavigator.com.

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