The Rev. Michael L. Feely said he will lead a vigil tonight at City Hall for the detainees from the April 16 raid at the local Pilgrim's Pride chicken processing plant.
He said, "If you believe all people deserve to be treated with dignity, you are invited to join in the vigil."
Also, the need is so great for Spanish-speaking pastors and staff, the Salvation Army has deployed six officers (pastors) from Kentucky, Texas and Florida to help counsel residents affected by the Pilgrim’s Pride ICE raid, officials said.
Today (April 29), the Texas and Florida officers will join Capt. Doris Lawrence, of the Owensboro, Ky., Salvation Army, to talk with more residents. They are also expected to go block-by-block in the East Lake community passing out fliers about Salvation Army services. The officers will also aid in spiritual and emotional care of the children and parents affected by the raid. Material assistance is also being provided.
Salvation Army officials said, "Last week as Capt. Doris Lawrence, was counseling and trying to meet the needs of this community, she quickly realized that the affects of this raid are massive and so widespread it would take more pastors to even scratch the surface of those in need."
On Monday, Capt. Lawrence and two pastors from Abba House talked and prayed with two dozen people. They also helped dozens with Wal-Mart gift cards and assisting in paying utility bills, it was stated.
“We are writing the book on a new type of disaster,” said Major Jim Lawrence, Chattanooga Area Commander. “Though I have never seen anything like this before, we are doing what we always do. We are living out our mission of meeting needs in Christ's name without discrimination."
Major Lawrence said he values the Salvation Army’s partnership with La Paz de Dios and Episcopal Metropolitan Ministries.
“Together we are doing the most good and fighting the injustice to God’s creation,” Major Lawrence said. “And it’s all about God… that’s the reason we’re here.”
The Salvation Army will also be on hand tonight for the community prayer vigil at City Hall "for residents needing pastoral care or guidance."
The Salvation Army East Lake Corps, 2140 E. 28th St., is serving as the clearing house for service and is a collection agency for residents wanting to donate items. There is an urgent need for baby formula, diapers, food and monetary donations, officials said.
Monetary donations can be sent to:
The Salvation Army
800 McCallie Ave.
Chattanooga, TN 37403.
Please earmark the donations for the “Hispanic Ministry.”
Rev. Feely, who recently served a short time as an interim member of the City Council, said the vigil will span the state, from Chattanooga to Nashville to Memphis.
The Chattanooga Vigil will run from 6:30-7:30 p.m. at City Hall on Lindsay Street.
Rev. Feely said, "Hundreds of women and men have been detained after last week's immigration raids in Chattanooga. Families are currently separated in jails across the South. They will wait in detention centers for months while they await deportation.
"Few of those detained or released have the money for the legal support needed to help guide them through the complex immigration system. Come stand with us in silence and prayer."
Some of the detainees were due to appear in Federal Court in Chattanooga this afternoon.
He also said, "Many families were dependent on the income of those detained, and are not yet prepared to support themselves. Those still held in detentions centers face legal fees and exorbitant bond costs.
"Donate food, money for legal defense, tickets, bail, basic living expenses, Pro Bono Legal Aid, support or financial donations to the organizations of Chattanooga aiding the victims.
"Bring donations to the vigils to be delivered to victims or contact 615 833-0384 to find out where donations can be sent.
Also available is the "Help the Kids" fund established by La Paz de Dios, a nonprofit organization of Chattanooga. To contribute to this fund send to: La Paz de Dios, P.O. Box 3306, Chattanooga, Tn., 37404.
Contact organizers at 423-320-3636, or 706-217-8696 if you are traveling from Dalton, Ga., he said.