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Special Report: A look inside humanitarian effort on border

By John Grobe, News Reporter, jgrobe@ktxs.com
Published On: Aug 06 2014 10:13:09 AM CDT
Updated On: Jul 23 2014 08:26:11 AM CDT
ABILENE, Texas -

Border Patrol agents predict 90,000 children will cross the border by September – and all of the unaccompanied minors will need someone to look out for them.

Churches across McAllen, Texas are opening their doors to aid these children. The Catholic Church, Sacred Heart, has turned their community center into a large donation area. It's organized and operated by all volunteers who love what they do.

Monica Freeman, a McAllen native, is doing her best to help these people back on the road to humanity.

"Once we get them to eat and we have them change for their shower,” Freeman said. “That's when you see the change. They feel human again."

Freeman also noticed how hungry the children looked when they arrived. It was a look she had never seen before.

"The look in these kid's eyes are like a crazy look of hunger," Freeman said. "I can tell they're hungry."

Executive Director of Catholic Charities Norma Pimentel oversees all the volunteers in the Rio Grande River Valley area and families are constantly asking them for help.

"What we see is about 200 persons per day," Pimentel said.

The Abilene community also sent aid to the border. The Global Samaritan Resources of Abilene drove through the night to bring cots, blankets and toys for the struggling families.

"What won't change immediately are the needs of these people unless good-hearted people reach out and say we're going to give you a safe place to stay," said Danny Sims, executive director of Global Samaritan. "We are going to give you the basics – food, water and shelter."

Unaccompanied children that cross the border are taken to separate detention centers – hidden from the public eye.

Pimentel was allowed to visit one of these detention centers and the children's faces almost brought her to tears.

"I saw all those children's faces and we hugged and we prayed together,” Pimentel said. “The officer told me thank you for helping me see that they are human beings. That they are people."