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Volunteers focus on families affected by zero tolerance policy

Group traveled from San Mateo, California to McAllen to help

McALLEN, Texas – A group of volunteers from California are trying to help families recently affected by the zero tolerance policy.

This past weekend, a dozen volunteers from San Mateo, California accompanied U.S. Rep. Jackie Speier to McAllen, Texas, after hearing about the separation of families. 

"We are so upset and so frustrated to hear about this all over the news for the past few weeks so we decided we needed to focus on the children," Lilli Rey, volunteer with the McAllen 12, said.

Related: Group goes on hunger strike to protest immigrant families separated 

The volunteers worked and collected needed items: a total of 21 bags and 50 boxes, all before traveling to the Rio Grande Valley. 

"We would love to go in that center right now and try to hug some children, read to them, and just hold them and let them know that things are going to be OK. But we know we can't do that so this is the next best thing we can provide," Rey said.

Rey says she is proud of everyone who came together to make the contribution happen.

"We are tired of wringing our hands and just not sleeping at night," Rey said. "As a whole we were thinking -- what can we do besides saying isn't this just awful?"

Related: Volunteer reports immigrant children arriving sick at processing center

The group has since created both a Facebook page as well as shirts with the catchphrase, "I want my mommy" to help raise awareness to the cause.

And while the Trump administration says it has a plan to reunite more than 2,000 migrant children in custody, 522 children have been returned to their parents, according to a fact sheet released late Saturday night.


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