News & Media

We ❤️ Dutchess County!

We Asked, You Delivered!

Reunite Migrant Families 

Dutchess Welcoming

Yesterday we visited the Hope Border Mission.

It was immaculate and welcoming, with beds, meals, clothes, telephones, nurse's station, information and an outdoor place for children to play. I learned that that morning about 45 migrants had arrived so far. They most likely crossed just beyond the coils of razor wire and container wall and processed by CBP and brought here. One day in December the mission fed 3000 dinners, but at the moment there are far fewer. So many beautiful children are here. This baby was born just 4 days ago. I can't imagine that mother's journey. How desperate must one be for a better and safe life to take such a dangerous chance.

April  2024

Witness at the Border: Eagle Pass, Texas and Piedras Negras, Mexico

Report by Valerie Carlise

Today is Day 3 for Witness at the Border.

For three days, we have crossed the bridge and hung our banners for those in the US side to see. We look out across the river and see a container wall with coils and coils of razor wire and a dusty area that used to be a public park. It is now manned with armed military men from various states, who in opposition to our Federal  government have taken over and denied access to the people of Eagle Pass, and kept migrants from seeking asylum.

The soldiers look at us and we watch them. It was a little freaky to have a drone zoom down and look us in the eye today. They run their boats up and down the river, and today took some people on tour, who may have arrived in the helicopters.

Not a migrant to be seen crossing. To some this may look like their tactics are working, but we know that these tactics just push the desperate to other places and leave stranded others who have traveled hundreds or thousands of miles.

We've heard the stories of migrants who finally were able to obtain appointments through the CBP One app only to be detained, harassed and exploited by police until they missed it, their only chance.

To come in legally just becomes more out of reach each day, and of course, they want to cross legally. We've made the pathway impossible.

Piedras Negras has a beautiful plaza and a beautiful Paseo del Rio, lined with grass, trees and benches along the river. Along the Eagle Pass side it looks like a war zone.

About the Buoys: Andrew Yang

shared on Facebook by Joshua Rubin

Inside Team TLC NYC's Little Shop of Kindness

At this New York City Boutique, Migrants Shop for Free

Story by Alaa Elassar 

Photographs by Laura Oliverio

Published March 24, 2024

news video

(to open, click on title/link below)

The NYC Migrant Crisis Up Close

March 15, 2024


This article/video features the following groups:


 by Jamie Larson 

                          Hudson Valley Pilot

                                                                                      Jan 1, 2024 

by: Sandra Sanchez

Posted: Nov 13, 2023 / 05:26 PM CST

Updated: Nov 14, 2023 / 11:22 AM CST




OCTOBER 13th-19th 2023

(see Events for more information)

notes and photos from Catherine Cole

Thursday October 12th Grannies Respond’s border trip volunteers have started to arrive in Brownsville, Tx. More arriving tomorrow! We have a full itinerary beginning with a trip to La Posada Providencia shelter in San Benito It’s hot here!

Our border trip team of volunteers here in Brownsville consists of:, Susan Hinely, Elisa O’Callaghan, Jo Schlesinger, Rosy Vogan, Sue-Ann Divito, Vielka Wombold, Gail Bunker, Toni Lawrence and Catherine Cole… a pretty good crew!

Friday, Oct. 13th (an auspicious day!): This morning we drove to La Posada Providencia in San Bonito. There, we met Sister Nora Ruiz, E.D. Ben Addiel, and a groundskeeper, Jorge, who is so happy and believes he has the best job ever at and with the folks at la Posada.  Several buildings, respite pavilion, men’s and women and children’s dorms, some fortunate new construction, and a large  vegetable garden. Pure love for asylum seekers here.

Today, we met the mothers of two of the eight victims of the tragedy in Brownsville that occurred on May 8th, when a man in an SUV careened into a group of asylum seekers standing across the street from a shelter. Eight died, many others suffered injuries including lost limbs. These two young men were among the fatalities. One was 24 years old, the other nearly 24. We listened to their mothers words of love, how close they were to their families, heard about their good natures and their smiles, heard their mothers’ anguish, and their tears for their boys. 

The court case was this morning and the case went in favor of the prosecution, a good but small celebration for these  grieving moms.

Friday evening, after meeting up with Team Brownsville today to organize our work day tomorrow, all our volunteers gathered for dinner at Terra’s Urban Mexican Kitchen, suggested by Sue-Ann, for a truly delicious dinner while celebrating Vielka’s birthday! Tomorrow we work at Team Brownsville making a ton of sandwiches starting at 8am and we’re all looking forward to it! 

Saturday October 14th: We met at 8am to volunteer with Team Brownsville at their welcome center. We prepared plates for breakfast and made almost 500 PB&J sandwiches for asylum-seekers.We served people food, found them clothing, held babies while they tried on shoes… or ate their food, gave out shoelaces, diapers, water, and other necessities. Some of our group crossed into Matamoros to give our Elisa’s Calm dolls. It was a pleasure to serve with Team Brownsville.

Saturday evening: An incredibly moving and lovely evening visiting the survivors of the May SUV crash into a group of asylum seekers. Eight died and several were Injured. Tonight we talked to the survivors, heard their stories, met their wives and children, laughed, tested up, and hugged. Two wives of the men and one’s Mother made us the best empanadas ever!  And Mario Saenz presented us with the most amazing cake ever!! That was a really fun surprise!

Tuesday October 17th: Notes and Photos from from Sue-Ann Leigh

On Tuesday, we reached Catholic Charities in San Antonio, a respite center rather than a shelter, where they process up to 500 individuals per day released by CBP. People typically stay for 24-48 hours, during which they receive preparation and guidance for their onward journey, with the ultimate goal of restoring their inherent human dignity. Established in 2018, this facility has assisted over 400,000 individuals in reaching their final destinations.

Walking into this organized chaos, the sight of families with small children overwhelmed me. What caught my eye were the missing shoelaces, a detail even more disconcerting when realizing that shoelaces had been removed from toddlers and young children.

We observed the arrival process from the detention center to the screening facility, where individuals arrived without any belongings. Subsequently, they entered the respite center, where they received essential necessities. They could visit a thrift shop for clothing, get assistance in arranging transportation to their sponsors, and utilize a phone charging station. For those with babies and toddlers, diapers, wipes, and formula were readily available. The center provided three meals a day, and those embarking on the next leg of their journey received bags containing sandwiches, snacks, and, if needed, diapers and wipes.

The way Catholic Charities welcomes people with dignity and respect, through both monetary donations and volunteer efforts, serves as a model that I wish our government would emulate.

While there, I witnessed two little girls, around 5 or 6 years old, who independently approached the altar and knelt to pray. I could only hope their prayers would be answered.

During my visit, a woman I had met in Matamoros recognized me. She recalled that we had given her son a "bear with me doll" from CALM: Creating A Loving Memory. Compassion To Action during their stay in the camp as they awaited their appointment to enter the US. She informed us that when they crossed the border, the doll had been confiscated and discarded, along with all their belongings. My anger surged as I remembered that the group of women I was with reentered the US with wagons full of these dolls, without any inspection. The unnecessary cruelty inflicted on a three-year-old by government officials is beyond comprehension.

As I looked around, I saw rooms filled with children playing and mothers nursing their babies, a palpable sense of safety within these walls. In the kitchen, I was joined by two little boys, aged 8 and 9, who, inspired by the examples set for them, wanted to help others. Working alongside them, I couldn't help but think of my own grandsons. I hoped that one day soon, my new friends would experience the same sense of safety and security.

We met a mother holding her 23-day-old baby alongside her 3-year-old. It was heart-wrenching to realize that she had undertaken this unimaginable and treacherous journey while pregnant, giving birth along the way. As we conversed with her, we learned that her 12-year-old niece, who had traveled with her, was separated from her at the border. Government officials had taken her as an unaccompanied minor, leaving the woman with no contact information or means to reconnect. For her niece to complete this harrowing journey alongside her aunt, only to be torn away from her only family and placed in a government facility, was an unimaginable and an entirely unnecessary cruelty inflicted by our government. Her despair and our inability to help will forever weigh on our souls.

The day ended on a positive note. We went to the bus station to replace Louis' doll, providing him with something to hold during his journey. It turned out that although the family were taking a bus to San Antonio, their final destination was Indianapolis, and they had only $50 and a bag of food from Catholic Charities. Thank goodness for Vielka’s  ability to communicate with them. Determined to help, we worked on securing train tickets from San Antonio to St. Louis, MO, to get them closer to their destination, with Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden generously covering the cost of the train tickets. At midnight, we arranged an Uber to take them from the bus station to the train station. I will follow up with a post on their story and the many compassionate individuals who touched their lives on their journey.

By Noorulain Khawaja Hudson Valley

PUBLISHED 6:00 PM ET Aug. 30, 2023


OCTOBER UPDATE: The Little Shop of Kindness is CLOSED UNTIL WE FIND A NEW SPACE, due to extreme flooding. Please spread the word that we are looking for a new store front for a permanent (and perhaps temporary) location

Another Story about 

The Little Shop of Kindness in NYC  

Christine Russo

June 12, 2023 4:54PM

updated June 13, 2023 5:44

Fox 5 NY

Migrant opens up about arduous

 8-month journey to reach the U.S.

One of the newest arrivals in Poughkeepsie shares his story about coming to the U.S. with just the clothes on his back, in search of a better life.

 (Spectrum News 1)



PUBLISHED 6:42 PM ET JUN. 02, 2023

The New York Times, in print!

What a day yesterday in Newburgh! 

May 12, 2023

Members of Reunite Migrant Families and Grannies Respond, Catherine Cole, the Workers Justice Center, For the Many, the NYCLU, and two Orange County legislators greeted two buses of asylum seekers with signs, smiles and shouts of “bienvenidos” (welcome) to Newburgh. More arrived last night,110 men in all, from countries as varied as Venezuela, Mozambique, Senegal, Mauritania, Bolivia, and Afghanistan. 

Hotel staff, NYC facilitators, and the company responsible for managing their lodging, food, transportation and case workers efficiently checked them in. NYC is paying the bill for up to four months as they find jobs and sustain themselves. However, there are other current needs including clothing, shoes,and hygiene items, as well as leads to jobs in the area and legal counseling.

Here is where Reunite Migrant Families and our supporters come in. 

First of all, a BIG thank you to all who have responded to our recent request for support!

Now if you are moved to help even more, we would like to collect a special “pot of money” to provide the items the men need. No donation is too small and every little bit helps.

We are in direct contact with the people working with the men at the hotel; so we can clearly target our donations. Grannies Respond, our parent group, is also contributing. If other asylum seekers come to our area, we aim to be prepared to welcome and to help them as well.

Gregg Vigliotti for The New York Times

AP Photo/John Minchillo

If you wish to contribute to this special initiative, please donate (tax-deductible) to:

(When it says “Where would you like this donation to be used?”, be sure to indicate “Hudson Valley, NY” and note it is for newly arrived asylum seekers.) 

You may also send a check to: 

Grannies Respond 

℅ V. Carlisle 

83 Mountain Rd.

Pleasant Valley,NY 12569. 

If you would like to be on call to meet and greet people as they arrive, let us know and we will create a group email and chat group solely for this purpose.

Thank you all,

                                 Muriel Horowitz

Steering Committee Member

Reunite Migrant Families 



 Blaise Gomez


New York Times

Tammy La Gorce


May 2023

News from Team TLC NYC

More than 50,000 asylum seekers have moved through NYC’s intake system. Team TLC NYC was there to greet the first bus and has been on the ground ever since!

Our recently opened our Little Shop of Kindness at 12 W. 40th Street is open for VOLUNTEERS & DONATIONS on Mondays 2-6  pm & Tuesday-Friday 9 am to 3 pm.

We are also back greeting incoming buses at the Port Authority!

November 2023 Update: Team TLC NYC is currently not greating buses. Little Shop of Kindness has closed due to flooding

You can help by Donating and Volunteering

Volunteer shifts are available Monday-Friday.

Sign up to greet busses at the Port Authority here:

Sign up to help out at our Little Shop of Kindness here:

Please click on this link to find out all the ways you can make donations:

Amnesty Mid-Hudson Fundraiser: Live Music, Film, Panel, Silent Auction

Tuesday May 9th, 2023, at the Rosendale Theate, the Amnesty Mid-Hudson Fundraiser took place with Live African Music by Amadou Diallo & Family, the Film "From Beacon to the Border", Silent Auction, and Panel Discussion led by Ilgu Ozler. The Panel included Speakers from Grannies Respond, For the Many, Ulster Immigrant Defense Network, Worker Justice Center, and Amnesty International Mid-Hudson. Panelists included Valerie Carlisle, Diana Lopez, Father Frank Alagna, and Renan Salgado. Andrea Degeorge Garbarini was there to screen her film, From Beacon to the Border, which documents the Grannies origin story. Thanks to Diana Zuckerman for organizing this gem of an event! Several OGs (Original Grannies) were in attendance: Andrea Degeorge Garbarini, Claire M Nelson, Barry Nelson, Antonio Mochilero, Valerie Carlisle, and Catherine Cole.

Congratulations to Team TLC NYC Director Ilze Thielmann, winner of a Kindness is Cool award from the Luisa Diaz Foundation 

Ilze was honored at the MAG Gala 2023 at the Plaza, 768 5th Avenue NYC, on May 18. 

Team TLC NYC is an all-volunteer organization that has been greeting and assisting asylum seekers arriving in NYC since June 2019. Founded by Vinnie Elizabeth, who was inspired by Team Brownsville, and later led by Margaret Seiler, TTLC ramped up in 2022 under Ilze's leadership.

More than 25,000 asylum seekers have moved through the city's intake system in the last year alone. Team TLC NYC has been on the ground greeting them since day one.

Team TLC NYC is a Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden, Inc. group. Grannies Respond is a national, all volunteer 501(c)3 organization that has been assisting asylum-seekers in over 14 states across the U.S. since August 2018.

Reunite Migrant Families Spring 2023 Newsletter!

Grannies Respond Hudson Valley Group

has so much to share! 

Please take some time and read what they've been up to.

With a rented van full of donated items, and no firm idea where she was headed, 

California Grannie Elisa O'Callaghan's first trip to the border was just the beginning

Profile from Grannies Respond Spring Newsletter, March 2023

Little Shop of Kindness

Our NYC group, Team TLC NYC (Ilze Thielmann and volunteers) have moved out of Port Authority and through the generosity of the Seventh Day Adventist Church at 12 W. 40th St., NYC, have been gifted a wonderful space to open Team TLC NYC’s “Little Shop of Kindness.” Volunteers have worked very hard to make a mini-Bloomingdale’s… a charming store filled with donated goods where asylum seekers and those with children also, will be able to come and shop for free with a personal shopper to assist them! Civilized and dignified treatment of those with virtually nothing. Clothing, shoes, coats, toys, books, and more. And they will provide lunches. #kindless #teamtlcnyc 

Volunteers like Joan DeWitt, a retired nurse, from Atlanta, Georgia can be a lifeline for asylum seekers helping them to connect with legal services or mental health support. Photo by Bita Honarvar for palabra 

Overextended volunteers offer a warm welcome and friendly faces to asylum seekers after a long treacherous journey.  At times, needs outstrip capacity.

Words by Allison Salerno @allisonbsalerno     Photos by Bita Honarvar @BitaHonarvar

for Palabra   March 15, 2023

Jo Schlesinger in 


Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden

Grannies Respond members Jo Schlesinger and Allan Willinger go the extra miles to assist asylum seekers 

Allan Willinger in 

El Paso

January 12 to March 12, 2023

"Breslin’s images focus their attention on migrants and immigrants from areas south of our country’s border. "

On March 5th,  Grannies Respond, represented by Valerie Carlisle, our Hudson Valley lead, and board member, and Catherine Cole, Exec. Director, was honored to be invited to a panel discussion at Saint Patrick – Saint  Anthony in Hartford, Ct., along with Fr. Julian Jagudilla of The Migrant Center, at the Church of Saint Francis of Assissi, NYC.

An event was held at the Clare gallery at the Franciscan Urban Center where our friend an talented artist, Christine Breslin, exhibited her very moving photographs of migrants.

The religious studies students and many parents attended. The students worked very hard to get donations and purchase tons of clothing, socks, toys, crayons, and so much more to stuff into many, many backpacks for asylum children!

We could not be more impressed nor more grateful!

Volunteers from the Vassar community chose Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden as a local nonprofit organization to receive financial support through the College’s Community Works program. 


view article here: December 2022

A tough new immigration measure could disqualify the vast majority of migrants from being able to seek asylum at the southern border.


Please comment!!! 

See the article below and see the actual rule below that.   Very urgent!

New York Times Article 02/2123

comment here: Circumvention of Lawful Pathways document

Rachna Daryanani, of New York, prays to her mother asking her to watch over the migrant children she saw at the border.(Ana Ramirez/The San Diego Union-Tribune)

Joshua Rubin (left) talks to Venezuelan migrant Jefferson on the Mexican side of the Rio Grande on Friday.

by: Julian Resendiz

Posted: Dec 9, 2022 / 06:10 PM CST

We are here to look at the border – the full border – because the border not only stops people from coming in, it also keeps us from seeing what this border is doing to people on the other side of the river.” 

November 2022             view article here

"What I found was the most extraordinary volunteer operation I have seen in many decades of work. A group called Grannies Respond stepped in to take this on, operating at the terminal under the name TLC-NYC. They had people signing up for shifts throughout the day, starting at 6 am. They negotiated a space at Port Authority and their volunteers would greet arriving asylum seekers with an enthusiastic welcome."

Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden Executive Director, Catherine Cole, networking in New York City for Team TLC-NYC during the influx of asylum seekers from Texas.   October 2022    

Volunteer Rachna Daryanani hands out goods to migrants at the border bus station. Photos courtesy of Grannies Respond/Abuelas Responden.