In the many years of work in our region and response to crisis, we have developed a solid offering of services that address human need. Please scroll through this page for information about our Holistic Care efforts or click the links below for individual pages.
Food: Soup Kitchens and Food Baskets
Each week, hundreds of people come to YLM’s campus in El Paso to take part in one program or another. Two of the highest attended are the daily hot meal program and the weekly food basket distribution. Recently, a young mother told us about a time a few years ago when the food from YLM was all that she and
her daughter survived on for a month. Her husband had left her, leaving her to care for her daughter by herself with a very limited income. Each day, this woman and her daughter came to the YLM campus to receive four plates from the hot meal program. They would eat two of these plates for lunch, and take the remaining two home for dinner. This was how they were able to make sure that they received adequate food and nutrition while employment was sought. Finally, after a month of doing this, the young woman found a job and was able to provide for her family.
Hot meal programs are also underway at some of our mission congregations in Mexico. A weekly meal is held on Wednesday’s at Iglesia Sin Paredes (Church Without Walls) in Anapra, and once per month at the St. Peter and Paul site.
Another way YLM reaches out to alleviate physical hunger is through the weekly food basket distribution. Every Saturday, over 100 families receive food through this program. Donations from Orphan Grain Train, The West Texas Food Bank, and local produce companies help to fill the warehouse, and in turn, the food baskets. There are times where staff members have overheard participants telling others that without this program, there would be missed meals at their home. At this time, we have to limit distribution to a fixed number each week, and we hope in the future that we will be able to lift this cap and help even more hungry families.
YLM also assists individuals in Mexico with food baskets. Each mission site in Juarez provides food to the community that it serves, and our outreach goes even further. Churches affiliated with YLM in Chihuahua City also help alleviate hunger in their city, and even bring food to the Tarahumara Indians in the mountain villiage of Sicachique.
What We Do:
- Hot Meal Program
- King’s Table Luncheon (Mesa de Reyes)
- Food Basket Distribution
- Bulk Food Distribution
At the Cornucopia Thrift Store (more commonly refered to as “la tiendita”) YLM provides variety items at rates well below normal market value and even below the normal prices of other thrift stores. It is open Tuesday through Saturday and offers a variety of reasonably priced items including clothing, shoes, housewares and books. Donations from the El Paso community, Orphan Grain Train, and others throughout the USA provide the the goods that the store sells. There is even some hand made items, such as jewelry and baskets, from the Tarahumara Indians further south in Mexico. The store is staffed by volunteers. This store is another great way to bring people to YLM’s mission campus and provide for those in need.
Currently, with items provided by the store on our campus, small satellite thrift stores are being opened at our mission sites in Juarez. The first has begun at Cristo Rey (Christ the King) in downtown Juarez, and our hopes are to continue to assist our sites in both Juarez and Chihuahua open their own stores to help generate income for the church and the work being done in these areas.
Additionally, for individuals or families in need, or displaced by disasters such as fire or flood, the Cornucopia Thrift Store will provide clothing and other needed items free of charge in an effort to help these families through their difficult time.
What We Do:
YLM is blessed in that our staff and Mexico mission sites are equipped to host medical, dental, and eyeglass clinics free of charge. Servant events that have health professionals along provide all of the supplies, treatments, and medications. The story is told of a nurse from a St. Louis, MO, area church who was planning to participate in an upcoming medical trip when her husband suddenly passed away. She considered backing out, but felt the Holy Spirit prodding her to stay a part of the team and come down to YLM. On the last day of the clinic, everything and everyone was cleaned up and loaded into the vans for the most part, but she hung back making sure the site was spotless and they hadn’t forgotten anything. It was then that a young couple and their baby, already bluish in the face from lack of oxygen, ran frantically toward her. The nurse was able to resuscitate the child, and the parents cried out with joy. The miracle was a powerful testament to why God needed and wanted her there at that time–God knows His plans for us!
Begining in August 2014 – RotaCare of El Paso is providing free medical checkups and care on the YLM campus in El Paso every month.
Health and Hygiene Kits
Hygiene kits are another big way YLM addresses health needs on the border. These kits are made available twice per year, in conjunction with the school supply and Christmas toy distributions. Since 2006, 8,264 kits have been distributed on both sides of the border. Kits generally contain hygiene items such as soap, shampoo, toothbrushes, toothpaste, deodorant, and washcloths. As they are available, these kits also contain basic medicines such as pain reliever, cough medicine, and ointments.
Christmas Gifts, Jackets, and Blankets
Over the past 5 years, YLM has distributed 7,228 toys to children on both sides of the border. Without this program, many of these children would have nothing to unwrap as they celebrate the birth of Jesus. Some of the gifts are distributed right here on the campus, and others are sent with mission staff to be delivered in Juarez, San Lorenzo, Chihuahua City, Sicachique, and even here in El Paso. This past year, as some of the staff members were delivering jackets, blankets, and toys, one young child said with a great big smile on her face that Santa did come this year, after she thought he would not be able to. It took all the self control that our staff had to not break down as they heard and saw her excitement and joy, and they were overjoyed with happiness that they were able to help bring an exciting part of Christmas to this girl.
The gifts that are distributed come from everywhere. Donations from individuals make up the largest percentage, but over the last few years, there have been boxes of new toys donated by students from UTEP, employees of UPS, and Fort Bliss. One friend of the program even takes old dolls and gives them a make over so they look like new.
In conjunction with the toy distribution, YLM partners with Operation Noel to provide jackets to over 15,000 people in the borderland. Operation Noel works with many organizations such as schools, churches, and youth programs in both El Paso and Juarez to ensure that the children of our community have something clean and warm to fight off the winter chills. Since 2006, 3,139 jackets have been given to YLM for its locations on both sides of the border.
Even though everyone is not eligible to receive a jacket, YLM also fights the cold by making quilts and blankets available during our Christmas distributions. Nearly all of the 7,565 blankets given out since 2006 have been brought to us by Orphan Grain Train. These quilts and blankets are brought to the Orphan Grain Train warehouse by quilting clubs all across the United States, boxed up and held until the trucks leave for El Paso, and then they are made available for all of our mission sites both here in El Paso and those in Mexico.
Mariachi Care Serenades
The impact of a visit from Mariachi San Pablo to a nursing home, adult day care, or the doorstep of a person who is sick or under great stress can be great. Mariachi San Pablo schedules free serenades or for agencies in El Paso whose residents might benefit from a Gospel-filled presentation of mariachi music. On a case by case basis, Mariachi San Pablo will also gladly visit the home of a family in order to encourage by their music a person recovering from illness or a care-giver who is struggling under a difficult load. A limited number of these free serenades are possible each month and are generally reserved for special cases of need.
Music to the ears…and the soul!
Many families and agencies choose also to contract Mariachi San Pablo for special occasions. Please contact Ann Hernandez at (915) 858-2588 if you would like more information.
School Supplies and Scholarships:
Education in Mexico is only free through the 6th grade, and if a child or family desires to continue their education, there are tuition payments to make. Often, these children are needed to enter the job market in order to help the family earn needed money, or because there is no money to pay for middle, high school, and college.
Over the years, YLM has had a program where children were chosen to receive financial aid for their education, and we would often hear stories such as this: One recipient of a scholarship through YLM and San Lucas in Anapra had her heart set on being a doctor, even though she was only in high school. She was able to pay her tuition and other fees because of her scholarship, but had no extra money for additional books to help her learning. She often went to the public library to look at medical textbooks, and because she could not afford them, she would spend hours copying the text into one of her notebooks she received from the school supply distribution, even taking the time to draw the pictures as they appeared in the textbook, thusly creating her own learning tool.
When we attend services in Mexico, and see children such as Ruby, who is 10 years old, and can recite the Apostles Creed from memory, we often think about her being a future leader and making a positive impact on her community. We know that through the scholarship program, anything is possible and Ruby’s potential will not be limited due to her family’s ability to pay or not pay for her education.
What We Do:
Home Construction and Repair
Another of the many ways that YLM provides close and personal care to families in need is through home construction and repair. This service became part of YLM’s work in 2001 when servant events began building “Round Houses” using house-kits provided by The Orphan Grain Train. Before long, YLM began leading groups in the construction of more standard homes in Juarez as replacements for the dangerous, substandard housing of families there.
Home repairs are also provided by servant event groups and have included roof projects ranging from patching a leak to tearing off and rebuilding an entire new roof, as well as plumbing, painting, tiling, electrical work, concrete pouring, and even replacing windows. YLM has a team of construction leaders in place to assist in projects as needed, so no experience is required.
Our construction and repair projects are available on both sides of the border, although some projects may be limited in El Paso due to building codes and permits.
Spiritual Instruction and Care
There is no deeper need than to know the God who created all things and who has addressed the problem of sin, evil, and death. Through social service programs and crisis intervention much relief can be provided to the suffering; however, faith in Jesus Christ is the only full and complete solution to the sin that ails humanity. Our network of missions and churches exist to bring spiritual healing, by grace in Jesus Christ. Classes, pastoral counseling, hospital visitation, jail visitation, and other services are provided by the congregations affiliated with Ysleta Lutheran Mission Human Care. Recently, Lutheran Prison Ministry has fallen under our work. This outreach provides Bibles and spiritual literature for those in prison across the country. For more information, please visit www.ylm.org/prisonministry.