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Friday, April 19, 2024
The Observer

Sodexo fundraiser to raise money for upcoming border immersion trip

While some students spend their spring breaks jetting off to Athens or Barcelona, others choose to use their week doing service work. Five students and two faculty members from Saint Mary’s are preparing for their upcoming trip to McAllen, Texas during spring break for a border immersion experience. Situated in the southern tip of Texas, McAllen is just minutes away from Reynosa, Mexico — a large manufacturing center. 

The group will be working with the Respite Organization, an asylum clinic which is sponsored by Catholic Relief Services. There they will be assisting people who have escaped organized crime, gang violence and extreme poverty and come to this country for a fresh start, according to an email sent to the student body Feb. 3.

Junior social work major Rebecca Klaybor registered for the trip because of her desire to help others.

“I decided to go on a trip because it’s an event that my major is hosting. I thought it would be pretty cool to go with people in my major and people who want to help others,” Klaybor said. “I think it will be really interesting to see what’s actually going on [at] the border and what people are doing to help.”

In an attempt to offset costs, the group has partnered with Saint Mary’s dining services to fundraise. Sodexo’s customer satisfaction survey, which can be accessed via a link sent to students, comes with an incentive — every completed survey will result in a $1 donation to the McAllen trip. Everyone who eats in the dining hall is eligible to complete the survey and people can submit it more than once. 

Apart from the Sodexo fundraiser, the group has also received a grant to fund their travel.

Klaybor said the group will be able to cross the border into Mexico.

“What we will be doing is changing every day because of the regulations that are changing daily,” she said. “When we first initially heard about the trip, we weren’t going to be crossing the border or anything, but that’s changed because of more people being allowed in the U.S.” 

While the exact itinerary is not finalized, Klaybor said she is looking forward to the experience as a whole.

“I think the most rewarding part of the trip will being able to just physically be there and actually make a difference and help these people,” Klaybor said. “To be able to be helping hand for Sister Norma Pimentel, our contact with the Respite Organization, because she sits in on meetings that decide where they end up and is responsible for talking to people and organizing where they’re going to go from here. I think it will be a once in a lifetime experience.” 

In addition to the financial struggle to make the trip possible, Klaybor spoke to her personal concerns about the upcoming trip.

“A difficult thing that I’m kind of worried about that no one has talked about is the language barrier,” she said. ”I think we have a couple of girls who speak Spanish, but that wasn’t a concern or a requirement to go on the trip. But as the trip approaches the more it worries me.” 

The fundraiser will run until spring break.