As new asylum seekers began to arrive in Portland in the last week from central Africa by way of Mexico, a variety of social service and other agencies immediately took up the charge to provide services as quickly as possible.
An emergency shelter was established at the Portland Exposition building, and Preble Street and Wayside provided food.
Dozens of already-settled immigrants even volunteered to cook and to translate, and on Friday, the University of Southern Maine said it would open one of its 200-bed dorms in Gorham to asylum seekers.
But Anna Bullett, director of the Cumberland County WIC (Women, Infants and Children) program at Opportunity Alliance, saw additional needs that weren’t being met. Bullett created an Amazon “list” of items in need, which allows donors to order the items on the website and have them shipped directly to Opportunity Alliance, which will distribute them directly to the families.
Bullett wrote that “at least 200 people — all families with small children and infants” — arrived this week in Portland from the country’s southern border.