Homeland Security may have recently announced the number of unaccompanied minors crossing the border from gang-ravaged countries such as El Salvador, Honduras and Guatemala is on the decline.
While many are being deported back to their country of origin, there are others remaining stateside and stretching the resources of municipalities, schools and charities.
One woman who is helping all of the above including the kids is Elianne Ramos, who this past summer founded the Border Kids Relief Project.
This is an organization that is putting together efforts at the local level in different cities to collect donations for the different agencies that are providing relief to the children, Ramos told VOXXI. We are helping food banks. We have many other organizations that are partners with LULAC, Catholic Charities, the Hispanic Foundation and many others.
As far as the dwindling numbers, Ramos pointed out between last October and this August, the Southwest border saw more than 66,000 children apprehended, mostly coming from Central American countries.
That represented an 88 percent increase over the same period a year earlier.
In addition, more than 10,000 children were apprehended in both May and June, while July saw just more than 5,500, and August around 3,100.
For Ramos, the plight of the children is particularly personal. When she heard about their stories, she didnt hesitate to use the vast network resources of her own company Speak Hispanic Communications to help the children in need.
I have been well known in the online world for more than six years with a large Latino network through my own organization, Ramos said.
I have a lot of followers. So when I started the initiative, I only had to pick up the phone to get them onboard. Thats what I did.
Not only is Ramos a contributor to the Huffington Post, but shes also widely acclaimed. In 2012, Ramos received the Best Microblogger Award, LATISM, while in 2013 she received the SmartCEO Brava Award.
Now Ramos feels as though the currency she built up based on her blogging credibility is being spent on the Border Kids Relief Project.
When the news of this story broke, I started rallying up my network online, Ramos said.
These contacts know how to organize the effort. I started bringing in people in San Diego and so many others. Weve been doing a lot of these donation drives in different cities like Pittsburgh, Washington D.C. and New York City.
Overall, there have been 15 different donation drive efforts throughout the country with more planned. Ramos said the goal of the Border Kids Relief Project is to get more people involved.
The way people can help is by organizing a local drive in their community, Ramos said.
I provide the support to bring things together. I connect them to local services in the area and help organize the donation drive in their locality. Im able to do a lot of the legwork theyd normally have to do. I also connect with other volunteers in their area.
The highly sought-after donations include specific needs of the organizations, which Ramos said does vary per group.
Common critical items are shoes and clothing, undergarments, backpacks, snacks and toiletries, Ramos said. Depending on where people are located, we direct them to organizations in close geographical proximity so they can save on shipping.”
We also help people organize their own local drives and connect them to relief organizations in their area, if they prefer to do something bigger.
For more information, email Ramos at firstname.lastname@example.org.