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Annunciation House expects volunteer shortage as migrant releases increase

Annunciation House could soon be facing a volunteer shortage as the holiday break comes to an end. Meanwhile, the nonprofit is also bracing for a significant jump in immigrant releases.

The nonprofit leading the charge to house immigrants in El Paso now faces a new challenge as it prepares to be understaffed and overwhelmed. Several volunteers at Annunciation House will soon be returning to work just as the number of those staying at the shelter is set to increase by the hundreds.

"I had reached out back in the fall to see if they needed any volunteers in the holidays," Chloe Gilroy said.

Gilroy is a short-term volunteer at Annunciation House. She volunteered back in 2012 and came back during her break from Georgetown University.

“They offer their time and their energy to keep our hospitality sites functional, and that’s critical," Ruben Garcia said.

Garcia is the director of Annunciation House. He said there will be a need for volunteers as people like Gilroy return home.

"We need volunteers who are able to help in the different roles,” Gilroy said. “I need groups from churches who are able to say, 'You know what, we will provide a dinner at one of the hospitality sites.”

The shelter normally receives about 200-300 migrants a day from U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, but now it's expecting 500 daily.

“I wanted to be back down at the border because I know this is where the most hard-hitting work is happening,” Gilroy said.

Gilroy arrived in El Paso shortly after 600 immigrants were dumped in downtown El Paso by ICE without anyone being notified.

“Everyone is currently in crisis mode, just handling the sheer amount of migrants and donations and calls,” Gilroy said.

For Gilroy, it’s about helping and gaining experience she can share back at school.

“I want to take back the stories from the migrants that I’ve been working with and the hard work that people are doing here,” Gilroy said.

Gilroy will return to Georgetown University next week.

If you would like to help Annunciation House by donating your time or items, you can visit their website for more information.

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