PHOTOS IN FEBRUARY 24 FOLDER
By TRAVIS M. WHITEHEAD
SAN BENITO — For some of them, it’s the first book in English they’ve ever had.
That’s why a large donation of books, backpacks and other supplies to La Posada Providencia is so important.
“They’re very important because the books, first of all they’re paperback, and they’re little stories both in Spanish and in English,” said Sister Zita Telkamp, program director at La Posada.
The shelter, which has 24 beds, is a ministry for people in crisis from around the world who are seeking legal refuge in the U.S. Many bring their children and sometimes remain here for months.
Kappa Delta Pi, the international honor society for education, donated the supplies which included 300 backpacks, said Rose Cardarelli, member of the executive committee. She’d flown in from Washington, D.C., to donate the supplies along with Vicky Tusken, who’d traveled from Chicago.
“We wanted to do a mission to help children that were (staying) here and we wanted to keep it strictly from an education focus,” Cardarelli said. “We didn’t want to get into any of the politics or rhetoric. This is for children.”
Cardarelli, who is the KDP representative to the United Nations for non-governmental organizations, has performed the same kind of outreach to refugee camps in the Middle East.
“I wanted to assist with this so we could bring these materials to occupy children’s minds while they were waiting,” she said. “We feel that when children are caught up in this situation it’s terrible that they have to wait for an extended period of time without anything to stimulate their minds or give them activities. This will help with that.”
Sister Zita said that in December and January the shelter housed 17 children and their parents from the Congo in Africa as well as Central America. Currently, about seven children are at the facility with their adult family members.
“Three are now enrolled in school because they’ll be here a few months,” she said. “We have a mother and her child from Zimbabwe. We also have someone from Eritrea. The rest are from Cuba and Central America.”
Sister Zita said such donations as that by KDP can create lifelong memories for the children on this uncertain journey.
“When the children leave each can take a book with them,” Sister Zita said. “It will be their very own book. And then they can also learn how to take care of a book, because some them, that might be the first book they ever owned. We will instruct them that it’s like a treasure.”
Friday afternoon the boxes of supplies waited to be opened. Some of them would go to other border communities in need.