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Chicago diocese’s Sanctuary Task Force seeks help responding to migrant emergency

The Rev. Sandra Castillo with other local migrant response leaders and an asylum seeker from Cuba at the CRLN Sanctuary Working Group‘s Widening the Circle Breakfast on May 3. Photo/Diocese of Chicago

Diocese of Chicago

The Diocese of Chicago’s Sanctuary Task Force is partnering with local nonprofits to provide critical support for thousands of people who have made their way to Chicago seeking asylum and protection from prosecution.

The Rev. Sandra Castillo, who chairs the task force, says there are many ways congregations and individual Episcopalians can help meet the overwhelming need.

“Individuals can visit the Chicago police station closest to their home and ask if asylum seekers need food, hygiene products etc.,” she says. “Some churches have prepared and served meals for asylum seekers who are housed in area hotels.

“Santa Teresa de Ávila Episcopal Church learned about the asylum seekers at the police station around the corner and invited the families to join them for a meal at the church’s kermes (festival) and on Sunday following the 12:30 service.”

Castillo also suggests that people donate money and time to nonprofit organizations, like the Illinois Community for Displaced Immigrants and advocate for federal policies that support asylum seekers. Learn more from Episcopal Church’s Office of Government Relations website.

Above all, she says, “housing is key.” Congregations and individuals who will provide emergency overnight, short-term, and long-term housing for asylum seekers are urgently needed, and hosts can work with nonprofit organizations that will provide case management services to migrants who have housing.

To learn more, email the Rev. Sandra Castillo and plan to attend the Sanctuary Task Force’s upcoming webinar on hosting refugees and asylum seekers.

Webinar on Hosting Refugees and Asylum Seekers

On Thursday, May 25 from 6:30 to 8 pm, the Sanctuary Task Force will host a Zoom presentation, Hosting Refugees and Asylum Seekers: Inspiring Stories of Love in Action. Learn how individuals and faith communities are offering hospitality and support to our newest neighbors and how individuals and congregations can be part of this urgently needed ministry.

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