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 and around a concrete plaza on the Mexican side of the Gateway International Bridge in Matamoros, Mexico. To deliver meals, volunteers travel across the pedestrian walkway of the bridge from Brownsville to Matamoros.
We are currently serving dinner to approximately 1000 people five nights a week. 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.
Please note: Local churches provide and serve meals to the asylum seekers on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so Team Brownsville does not cross into Matamoros those evenings.
You can volunteer to help with dinner at the bridge by signing up to provide dinner and/or cross the bridge to serve dinner with other Team Brownsville members.
Providing dinner - Brownsville
An important part of what Team Brownsville does is use volunteer support to provide dinner each evening to 1000 asylum seekers. Your group can provide dinner in one of two ways: by planning, buying and preparing the meal, or by donating funds to Team Brownsville to hire a restaurant.
Your group plans, buys and prepares the meal Five days a week, Team Brownsville volunteers shop for and prepare dinner in Brownsville, then deliver the dinner to Matamoros and serve it. Typically volunteers who shop and cook, also fund the meal. A Team Brownsville Team Leader will assist you in planning and preparing the meal.
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. The hours are from 1 to 4 PM.
When dinner is ready, your group would load it into foam “hotboxes” to keep it warm, transport the food to the bus station and place hotboxes into wagons to cross into Mexico.
Your group donates funds for a restaurant to prepare dinner If your group would like to provide dinner but do not want to plan and prepare the meal, you can donate the cost of dinner on the evening that your group is here. Team Brownsville will then contract with a restaurant in Matamoros to provide the meal. The price of this option is currently $1200.
In addition to dinner, sometimes volunteers like to provide fruit and snacks for the asylum seekers. No whole fresh fruit is permitted, but you are welcome to bring cut up fruit like watermelon or pineapple, (1000 people), cookies, or wrapped snacks. 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.
Program leader/coordinator: Andrea Rudnik
Please read tips and safety information about Crossing into Mexico