English Teacher Sally White Volunteers at Mexican Border Over the Summer

ENGLISH TEACHER SALLY WHITE VOLUNTEERS AT MEXICAN BORDER OVER THE SUMMER -- Mrs. White and her best friend, Alice, purchasing items to donate.

Sally White

ENGLISH TEACHER SALLY WHITE VOLUNTEERS AT MEXICAN BORDER OVER THE SUMMER — Mrs. White and her best friend, Alice, purchasing items to donate.

Abby Young, Staff Writer

As many news reports have revealed, families who immigrate across the United States-Mexican border are being separated. Children are taken from their parents and placed into government custody, while others who seek refuge in the United States are left without the essentials, such as food, or decent clothing. 

After hearing the stories that spread, English teacher Sally White decided to take matters into her own hands. She and a friend traveled to Harlingen, Texas, on July 6, to assist the weary travelers. The two stayed in Harlingen, then traveled to Brownsville, Texas, where they volunteered to assist asylum seekers at the Mexican border for six days. 

“My friend Alice and I were both distraught over news stories about families being separated at the border. We wanted to take direct action to help asylum seekers and show them some simple kindness,” White explained.

She volunteered at a respite center sponsored by the Catholic Charities of the Rio Grande Valley. There, she aided with a myriad of jobs, including helping the refugees stabilize themselves, by supplying showers, meals, and sleep, before continuing on their extensive journeys.

“The respite center provides those just released from immigration centers with warm showers, hot meals, and a place to sleep for the night, before helping them board buses to their sponsors all over the country. There were many volunteers there from all over the United States, and every single one of us stayed busy with a variety of jobs,” White remarked.

In addition to all the assistance she provided at the respite center, White raised about $3,000 dollars to buy supplies to donate by setting up a GoFundMe account.

“We bought groceries for the respite center, and we bought forty backpacks and filled them up with basic supplies like toiletries, water, snacks, and ponchos. We then donated the backpacks to the Angry Tias and Abuelas, a volunteer organization that assists asylum seekers who stand in line, sometimes for days, in the oppressive Texas heat, waiting for entry into the immigration centers where they can present their initial cases for asylum,” White noted. 

Because of White’s commitment, her numerous fellow workers at the border and the asylum seekers both expressed their great thanks and appreciation in different ways.

“As you might imagine, the dedicated folks facilitating all of this good work were most kind, and they all expressed their sincere thanks. Most of the asylum seekers we met did not speak English, but they said thank you with their eyes,” White recalled.

Despite the amount of work and effort White put in, she was humbled by her time at the border, being inspired by both the other volunteers and the asylum seekers themselves. She also revealed that she would love to return and volunteer again.

“I think people are people, no matter where they are from. I was moved by the kind of volunteers who had traveled from all over the U.S. to help where it was needed, and also I was moved by the asylum seekers, some of whom had arrived with no shoes on their feet, starving, trying to find a safer life for their families. It was a very humbling experience,” White reflected.