On August 19, 2022, our founder, Rev. Feliberto Pereira was honored by the global organization UNHCR, the UN Refugees Agency, in the United States & the Caribbean on their official Twitter Account.
Rev. Feliberto Pereira is a lifeline for vulnerable asylum seekers at the U.S.-Mexico border in Texas.— UNHCR United States (@UNHCRUSA) August 19, 2022
Driven by his faith and lived experience gaining asylum, he provides shelter, food and counseling to asylum seekers every day.
We honor him this #WorldHumanitarianDay. pic.twitter.com/YWDBEDNwSQ
World Humanitarian Day – August 19, 2022
Esteemed friends and supporters of the Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries,
Today is World Humanitarian Day, as designated by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR). Celebrated annually every August, I am among this year’s recipients of their global acknowledgment and recognition. This has been a very humbling experience.
On the occasion of World Humanitarian Day, our Secretary of State, Antony J. Blinken, said, in part:
For the world’s most vulnerable people, the impacts of humanitarian crises have been compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic, climate crises, civil unrest, and war. Humanitarians have ensured their access to healthcare and addressed the effects of hunger, gender-based violence, mental health concerns, and other challenges that disproportionately affect displaced and marginalized communities. Humanitarian workers are lifelines who provide hope, often in the most dangerous of circumstances, and the world needs them now more than ever.
Tragically, global humanitarian crises are growing. Conflict and natural disasters have forced historic numbers of people to flee their homes. Humanitarian workers have been targeted for violence or killed, even as they provide lifesaving assistance. Their work is dangerous – and essential.
I concur firmly and resoundingly with this statement.
The UNHCR statistics from 2021 cite that an estimated that 20.7 million (67% of the population) people needed humanitarian assistance, 12.1 million of whom are estimated to have been in acute need. Numbers are expected to rise significantly in 2022 due to Russia’s immoral war on Ukraine, where rocket attacks and shelling threaten civilians and aid providers in equal manner.
At the Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries we remain ever grateful to be in a position to assist our brothers and sisters from lands near and far. We are honored to maintain an excellent working relationships with various divisions within the Department of Homeland Security locally, where refugees and immigrants are regularly entrusted into our custody once released by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE). We are most often a recent arrival’s starting pathway to a new life among sponsor families or relatives. By the time they reach us, however, their journey has already been fraught by all manner of trauma, including violence and extreme situations; political or religious persecutions; physical and/or sexual assaults–all atop hunger, thirst, and lack of basic necessities.
We strive every day to do good and right by them and for them. All of this is made possible because of your faithful stewardship throughout the years. Today, while a day of huge emotion for a lifetime of answering the call to aid the least of these, our mission remains the same. I am not the story. Our immigrant and refugee friends, their lives, their worth, their futures are the story. Today’s United Nations acknowledgment may be for me, but there would never be a me without you standing beside me praying for our work, supporting our cause, and lifting those new lives in their new land in prayer to the Father. With deepest gratitude I thank you for this.
May the God of all grace be the comfort tonight and every night to our brothers and sisters currently in dire situations. Let us pray without ceasing as we are called to do. Let us remember that we are more alike than we are different. Let us never take for granted the blessings and talents we are called upon to help each other with.
Thank you for your time in reading this, and thank you for all your calls and love today. I am deeply humbled, profoundly moved, and completely energized to continue upon the sojourn the Lord led me onto so many years ago. Thank for being not only my friend, but also a friend of the ministry. I ask that as you keep our refugee and immigrants in your prayers, that you also pray for aid workers worldwide, most especially those in areas of grave chaos and danger.
In the spirit of brotherhood and in service of the Most High,
Rev. F. Feliberto Pereira
Founder and Executive Director, Southwest Good Samaritan Ministries