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How You Can Help Asylum Seekers in Pittsburgh

By Claire Lindsey, Journalism Intern

The Pittsburgh Chapter of Grannies Respond, a non-profit organization, needs volunteers to assist immigrants at the Greyhound bus station.

In 2018, a group of grandmothers from New York decided to respond to the crisis taking place at the United States-Mexico border. That summer, hundreds of grandmothers and their supporters travelled to McAllen Texas and protested for 24 hours outside the U.S. Border Patrol Processing Center. They also volunteered for local charities and aid groups and even crossed the border to deliver supplies to those entering the U.S.

Years later, the grannies have not ceased fighting. They became an official non-profit organization and have chapters across the country, including Pittsburgh.

There is a need for volunteers in Pittsburgh today. Grannies Respond is looking for fluent Spanish speaking volunteers to help asylum seekers on their journey from the border to their sponsors. Volunteers would drive to the Pittsburgh Greyhound bus station and wait for asylum seekers to arrive. These individuals are often hungry and in need of money for their travels.

Volunteers would be there to assist asylum seekers with their bus tickets, and offer them food, water, snacks, diapers, and personal care items.

There are five buses that could possibly have people in need on board arriving between 12:35a.m. and 2:45a.m., predominantly family units (parents and their children) and single adults arrive at the bus station; never is there an unaccompanied minor. Grannies Respond is looking for volunteers to wait at the station for the 12:35 AM, 12:45 AM, and 1:05 AM arrival times. All help is appreciated. 

For more information, contact Jo Schlesinger at joschlesinger@verison.net or 412-596-8658 

Those interested can also visit https://www.granniesrespond.org/volunteer

If you are not able to volunteer at the bus station, there are other ways to support this organization. They have partnered with Miles4Migrants, an organization that turns frequent flyer miles, credit card points, and cash into a new beginning for migrants in need of a home. They are also partnered with Pajamas for Peace to provide new pajamas to asylum-seeking families.

Grannies Respond frequently offer updates about immigrant and border news. They use their voice to call people and agencies to action, spread awareness about serious issues, and organize protests and events.There is much to learn about this organization, their mission, and their accomplishments. To find out more, check out their documentary, From Beacon To The Border, or visit their website.

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