LEWISBURG, UNION COUNTY(WBRE/WYOU-TV) – It’s been the big debate in the U.S recently – security along the U.S., Mexico border.
One local Union County woman who has been upset with the refugee situation worldwide, decided to step up and do something about it.
A brave Lewisburg area woman recently returned home from her trip to McAllen Texas, where she volunteered at a humanitarian respite center, helping refugees.
Meet Shari Jacobson.
An anthropology professor at Susquehanna University by day – and crisis volunteer by night.
As she spent ten days at a port of entry on the border with Mexico in Southeastern Texas, she says it was an effort that hits close to home.
“I felt a real heart for the people who were fleeing violence in their homelands in Central America. I can’t imagine leaving such a violent situation and then arriving in a strange country only to be separated from your children,” said Anthropology Professor at Susquehanna University, Shari Jacobson.
The humanitarian respite center is a place where migrants share their stories with border patrol agents..
The agents determine whether they have credible fear of return.
Once they’re clear, they are taken in and documented. Sometimes at least 500 people are dropped off in a day.
“We washed towels you know, 550 people arriving it’s a lot of towels,” said Jacobson.
Shari also helped the refugees get clothing, as well as prepare them with food as they got ready to embark on their journey.
“Make a lot of sandwiches because when people do leave on a bus trip to go to their sponsor, they get a bag of food and some of them are going as far as San Francisco, South Dakota, Boston,” said Jacobson.
With lnog days and even longer nights, she says the tasks were not easy..including hearing the horror stories from refugees.
“A man had an 8-year old daughter who was quite ill, feverish. He scooper her up in his arms and showed me how he had carried her during their journey for many days,” said Jacobson.
Fortunately, Shari’s 15 year old daughter Catie also went along on the trip.
“It was just something about having an eight year old interact with a 15 year old instead of an old person like me that really seemed to lighten the experience of the children,” said Jacobson.