From Our Kitchens to Migrants’ Tables: Changing the Story for Those Far from Home

This week, another mass shooting took innocent lives in Colorado, the war in Ukraine left thousands of people without heat as winter set in, and an earthquake killed hundreds of people in Indonesia. Looking around our world, neither humankind nor Mother Nature seems at peace.

War, poverty, and violence kill our friends and families, decimating our communities, but they cannot destroy our inherent generosity, kindness, and decency, the qualities that make us human. Sharing a meal, especially amidst tragedy, is our bold way of reasserting our shared humanity. As long as we can share a meal with others, there is hope that peace will triumph over violence.

That’s why Preemptive Love brought Thanksgiving meals made by a local restaurant to our migrant friends in two of the shelters we support in Juarez, Mexico. We wanted to show our migrant friends how thankful we are for the opportunity to know them better and be a part of their journey. Together, we celebrated the interconnectedness of people and cultures in honor of this holiday of gratitude and family with others so far from their homes and loved ones.  

Purchasing hot meals from a local restaurant allows us to support the local economy as we provide asylum seekers with nutritious food. Photos by Esbeydi Arias Carmona/PLC.

The menu for this meal was planned by our friends from a small, local restaurant, a small owned by a local Juarez chef. They prepared chicken filled with ham and cheese covered in mushroom gravy, mashed potatoes, and a small salad with homemade dressing. The team in the kitchen put all hands on deck to assemble and pack 100 meals.

Our first stop was Jaruda House, a small shelter that provides a dignified home for women and children. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we shared what we were grateful for. Some of the women at the shelter said how lucky they felt to have arrived at a place like Jarudo House, where despite the hardships and trauma they have endured, meeting the shelter leaders and our program officers restored their faith in humankind and gave them hope for the future.

Asylum seekers often spend long stretches of time at Mexican border shelters before receiving news from the US government on their applications. The idea of family often stretches to include everyone at a shelter. Photo by Manuel Trillo/PLC.

While we were sharing our meal together, some of the ladies told us they had just received their calls to leave on Saturday. They will be reuniting with their families and sharing another Thanksgiving meal in the US next week! The double blessing gave us more reasons to celebrate.

As we shared stories of gratitude over another meal at Revolution House, we were treated to more good news. A group of our migrant friends shared that they were leaving on Sunday! The Thanksgiving meal was a chance to thank the shelter for all their support and to celebrate that all their waiting had been worth it. 

One of our displaced friends shared why this meal was so special. “We travel, not because we want to but because we need to, and we are very thankful for people [like you] that bring us [meals] to eat – and share with this shelter your blessings.”

This year our community has provided meals for Afghans who survived an earthquake, Syrian refugees in Lebanon, Venezuelan families crushed by a failed economy, and refugees and asylum seekers at Mexico’s northern and southern borders. Photo by Manuel Trillo/PLC.

Buying meals from a local business stimulates the local economy. Bringing hot food to our migrant friends provides them relief as the weather turns cold and not everyone has warm clothes or blankets. Visiting with our displaced friends and sharing what we are grateful for filled all of us with a warm, buoyant feeling–hope.

We are so thankful for the opportunity to serve in different communities around the world. We are grateful for our partners on the ground and migrant friends who trust us with their stories. Our Thanksgiving celebrations would not be possible without the generosity of our donors. We are thankful for you and our community of peacemakers who help us build a more peaceful world. 

Happy Thanksgiving from Preemptive Love