Indianapolis church steps in for refugee students

Soon after it became apparent that Hurricane Harvey would wreak havoc on the middle Texas coast and not Brownsville, Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas made it known that the Brownsville Independent School District would accept refugee students.

Soon after it became apparent that Hurricane Harvey would wreak havoc on the middle Texas coast and not Brownsville, Superintendent Esperanza Zendejas made it known that the Brownsville Independent School District would accept refugee students.

Harvey made landfall Aug. 25 in Rockport, only a few days before the scheduled start of school at BISD and most public school districts in Texas. On Aug. 30, National Public Radio aired a segment about the storm in which it interviewed Zendejas, and she again said BISD would accept students whose families fled the storm to Brownsville.

In Indianapolis, friends who knew Zendejas when she was superintendent of schools there heard the interview and decided to help. On Friday, 11 boxes of school supplies for the students arrived in Brownsville courtesy of The Life Center at Southport church in Indianapolis.

“We always hear these reports of stuff not going to the right place but we knew Esperanza, so I talked to the pastor, who wanted to help, and we put together bags of school supplies for the different grades,” church member Dan Orman said. “We wanted to reach out. Even though we’re thousands of miles away, we still care about other people.”

The gesture did not surprise Zendejas.

“It illustrates the kindness of people,” she said. “I have fond memories of the people in Indianapolis. They’re kind-hearted people always looking to help. This did not surprise me. People want to do something.”

A more complete version of this story is available on www.myBrownsvilleHerald.com