DINNER AT THE BRIDGE
Volunteers cook, deliver, and serve delicious meals, prepared with love, to families waiting for the chance to legally cross the border and seek asylum. These families are living in a concrete plaza on the Matamoros side of the Gateway International Bridge. To deliver meals, volunteers travel from Brownsville to Matamoros across the pedestrian walkway of the bridge.
We are currently serving dinner to approximately 600 people each night. Preparing and serving meals at this scale requires lots of volunteers, specific skills, tight coordination and a committed adherence to the guidance of Team Brownsville Leaders.
Program leader/coordinator: Andrea Rudnik
You can volunteer to help with dinner at the bridge by signing up to cook and/or cross the bridge with other Team Brownsville members. If you wish to cook, but don’t have a kitchen available, we are often able to use the commercial kitchen at Good Neighbor Settlement House, located at 1254 E Tyler Street in Brownsville.
Volunteers meet at the La Plaza bus station located at 755 International Blvd, Brownsville, TX at 5:30 pm in the fall, winter and spring and 6:15 pm during the summer, every evening. Meet at the E Jefferson Street entrance.
Our group walks with wagons across our international bridge into Mexico and serves dinner on a concrete plaza just south of the bridge. We also distribute supplies. What we distribute varies by day and by recognized need and also by the availability of supply. Volunteers frequently deliver:
New socks (variety of sizes, but mostly short in the summer, long in the winter)
New underwear (we always need more brand new packages of women’s, men’s, girl’s and boy’s underwear),sports bras
T-shirts - new or used (freshly laundered)
Children’s toys such as bubbles, inexpensive balls, coloring books and crayons,
Spanish language children’s books
Diapers and wet wipes
Personal hygiene supplies
Please consult with other members of the volunteer team for the days you are working about distribution of clothing and supplies at the bridge. It can get hectic if you are not very careful to setup a process that allows people to wait in turns in an orderly fashion to avoid conflicts arising from competing claims to the same donated items.
To go into Mexico, you’ll need a passport and $1.30 in quarters + a nickel. It’s about a half a mile to get to the plaza, a relatively short walk.
For the bridge, you are welcome to bring cut up fruit like watermelon or pineapple, (600 people), cookies, or wrapped snacks in addition to the items listed above. A local Team Brownsville volunteer will assist you with knowing how many people to prepare for and their current needs.
Mexican authorities will not allow you to cross with packaged foods. All food has to be ready to serve. There are also specific restrictions on certain types of foods, so please consult with the program leaders before your plan.
These are just suggestions. Ask if you’re not sure about something.