ABC7's Cheryl Jennings interviews Jackie Speier at the border

MCALLEN, Texas (KGO) -- A group of humanitarians from the San Francisco Bay Area created a stunningly effective Facebook campaign in less than a week to collect 1,000 pounds worth of toys and clothes for immigrant children being held at a processing facility in McAllen, Texas.

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ABC7 News Anchor Cheryl Jennings traveled with them to the detention center, where hundreds of migrants have been locked up for processing and children have been separated from their families.

The group calls themselves the McAllen 12 because they've banded together to do what they can to help undocumented children at a facility in McAllen, Texas.

The women were moved by the stories they saw and just wanted to do something. They had special t-shirts created, with the statement, "I want my mommy," as a tribute to young children who have been separated from families arrested and accused of entering this country illegally.

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"What we'd like to do is be a presence with our t-shirts," said volunteer Annie Noonan. "And after our protest, we're offering our services to Catholic Charities and we will be happy to sort and store it."

ABC7 saw the volunteers lifting 70 pound bags of donated items to get them on and off the plane trip from the Bay Area to McAllen. They loaded up a u haul in the evening, hoping the items will be accepted on behalf of the children.
They are inspired by Congresswoman Jackie Speier, D-Calif., who has been vocal about the separation of children and families at McAllen. Speier spoke with ABC7 in an exclusive interview about leading a delegation of nearly two dozen lawmakers.

"We're going to the processing center where there is a hold for 72 hours," she said. "And then we're going to a second facility, where they're holding the parents after separating them from the children. We will be riding in one of the detention buses so it will be a really good experience."

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Speier made sure to spend time Friday night with the McAllen 12, to show her gratitude for their compassion.

Follow Cheryl and ABC7 News as we bring you the story of the Crisis at the Border.

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