CHICAGO (WLS) -- Members of two prominent Black churches on Chicago's South Side spent Wednesday afternoon donating food and other essentials to asylum seekers.
They hope to send a broader message to people in their community that supporting migrants in Chicago is the right thing to do.
Pastor Charlie Dates said the event is more than a food and toiletry giveaway. He said it is an opportunity for two predominantly-Black churches to show their brown brothers and sisters that they are not alone and will be cared for.
Volunteers from Salem and Progressive Baptist Churches came to Daley College, where dozens of migrants have been living. They passed out food, toiletries, coats, socks and more.
Dates is the head pastor of both churches. He has made it his mission to assist all Chicagoans, including migrants from Venezuela.
He wants to show the group of people that Black Chicagoans stand with them.
"Let's tell the truth, Black and brown people have a right and a reason to feel disenfranchised behind the enormous resources that are being poured into a new population," Dates said. "At the same time, those of us who are Christian see beyond our own personal need, and I think the is the most prophetic witness that Black and brown people have in America today, is to stay with other marginalized people."
"This is their first time in America, and they need to hear from people who understand what it's like to live at the bottom," Dates said.
Ingrid Donado is from Venezuela. She gave birth to her daughter Diana seven days ago. She said she's thankful for the volunteers.
"First time, I get help from churches," Donado said. "I feel good and grateful."
Alex Merida traveled from Venezuela with her dog Mejan.
"We came from our country with nothing and arrived with nothing, so we are very thankful for the help," Merida said.
"They're speaking to me in their mother tongue, language of gratitude and joy," Pastor Dates said. "If you could imagine yourself, your family, your children in this situation, then you'd appreciate what we're doing with our ministry here today."
Pastor Dates said this is just one of many efforts organized for migrants, and he looks forward to doing more events in the new year.