Schenectady County migrant aid group expands services

Volunteers were surprised to see a line outside the donation distribution site Friday in Rotterdam, hours before it even opened.

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The group called Allies for Justice has been working with migrants at the Super 8 Motel in Rotterdam.

This Wednesday at Mohonasen, they’re collecting specific things: winter items, cellphones, and toiletries.

They’re expanding their services to all the migrant families in the area.

“So we have wonderful news,” said Bill Sherman, one of the key members of Allies for Justice. “Every Friday, we’re doing this distribution, we’ve been focused on the residents in Rotterdam. And now Durham bus services is going to donate a bus on Friday to bring individuals and families from the Albany County hotels over to our distribution site, so we’re ecstatic over that.”

Sherman says an area of concern is the lack of legal support.

“So what we’re going to be doing is trying to coordinate in the Capital Region. There are several organizations that have been trying to help. I can tell you that the residents here in Rotterdam have had very little help, if any at all.”

Volunteers have been busy with migrant families in Rotterdam. Now they’re reaching out across county lines.

“We have a group of six people who, you know, our hearts are in it. We just see moms and dads here in a new country, they don’t speak English,” said Sherman. “They’re struggling. They want to provide the support to their own kids. So to me, it’s like moms and dads helping other moms and dads.”

The donation drive for winter items, cell phones, and toiletries will be at the CAT building at Mohonasen 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.