Bay Ridge church providing essential needs, clothing to city's asylum seekers

The Lutheran Church of Good Shepherd has turned the building into a donation center as migrants have been arriving to the city in droves for at least six months.

News 12 Staff

Oct 14, 2022, 11:52 PM

Updated 591 days ago

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A church in Bay Ridge is doing its part to help asylum seekers in need.
The Lutheran Church of Good Shepherd has turned the building into a donation center as migrants have been arriving to the city in droves for at least six months.
Bags of clothes fill the sanctuary as the church collects donations for asylum seekers.
Since April, Mayor Eric Adams says tens of thousands of migrants have arrived to the city -- many of them have fled their homelands of Nicaragua, Venezuela and Ecuador.
"These are public spaces. These are places of the community that are entrusted to us," says the church's Pastor Carlos Ruiz.
He adds that staff are helping migrants get back on their feet through their sanctuary project by giving them the basic necessities like a hot meal, legal aid and medical assistance.
"I think we know that every wave of immigrants that come here, they always need a hand up. And I said not a hand-out but a hand up because I think our families that came before benefitted by the generosity of older generations," Ruiz says.
Church volunteer Aristoteles Sanchez knows about the struggles migrants are facing. He moved here more than 20 years ago from Venezuela.
"Language barrier, the challenge of getting actually a job, trying to get housing. Those are the biggest challenges these people are actually facing right now," Sanchez says.
Ruiz says the church is helping around 150 asylum seekers daily. He says for many migrants the church has become a beacon of hope as they adjust to life in the United States.
"I say to them, 'This is a new beginning for you, so take the opportunity to do it. Dream and dream big,'" he says.
Right now, Ruiz says the church is in dire need of winter clothing donations as the seasons continue to change. He’s also asking people to donate MetroCards that the church can hand out to migrants, as well as other people in need.


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