The members and congregations of the Southwestern Texas Synod selected Upbring, the new Lutheran Social Services of the South, to receive half of the offering collected at this year’s Synod Assembly held May 1-3 in McAllen. After all the gifts were tallied, Upbring received a check for $35,452.37 – with the potential for additional funds arriving in the coming months. This support is designated for the immigrant children and families we serve in Corpus Christi, El Paso and McAllen. The Lutheran Seminary Program in the Southwest was chosen to receive the other half of the offering.
In partnership with the ELCA and Lutheran Disaster Response (LDR), Upbring is a key partner in an ecumenical and community-based response to the unmet basic needs of immigrants. This includes finding ways to support immigrant families who often are living in the shadows and have limited access to food, transportation, education and other necessities. Upbring has added a full-time staff position in the Rio Grande Valley to support these communities and to work in partnership with area churches and church and community organizations to fill gaps in services. This gift from the Southwestern Texas Synod will directly support this program.
Upbring also works with the Federal Office of Refugee Resettlement (ORR) to ensure immigrant children are in safe, temporary environments, surrounded by professional staff and trained, nurturing foster parents. This contribution will give unaccompanied immigrant children access to educational opportunities, shelter and legal resources.
Upbring ORR Programs include:
- Bokenkamp Emergency Shelter in Corpus Christi (serving up to 120 children at a time)
- ORR Transitional Foster Care in Corpus Christi (up to 32 children at a time)
- ORR Transitional Foster Care in El Paso (up to 50 children at a time)
- New Hope Emergency Shelter in McAllen (up to 60 children at a time)
”We are honored by the partnership we have with the Southwestern Texas Synod and deeply grateful for the generosity of the members and congregations of the Synod,” said Mike Nevergall, Upbring Vice President for Agency Advancement. “The theme for the Synod’s Assembly this year was ‘Welcome the Stranger,’ which is a fitting title for an event held in the Valley but which also perfectly describes the work Upbring does each day with immigrant children and families, guided by our faith to serve those in need.”