Long Beach officials seek help from community for migrant children at convention center

Long Beach officials launched an online portal on Monday with details on how community members, local organizations and businesses can help support the migrant children from the Mexican border who will be temporarily sheltered at the city's convention center.   

RELATED: City leaders approve Long Beach Convention Center as shelter for migrant children

"There's been overwhelming interest from our community to welcome and support the migrant children who will be coming to our city," Mayor Robert Garcia said. "Long Beach will continue to demonstrate compassion to those in need, and our online portal will provide up-to-date information on ways community members can support these efforts."  

Children are expected to begin arriving at the Long Beach Convention Center this week as part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services national humanitarian effort.  

While the reunification effort and shelter is led and funded by the HHS, the Long Beach Community Foundation has launched the Migrant Children Support Fund to accept donations from those who want to help.

All monetary donations to this fund are tax-deductible and can be made online, or by mailing a check to the Long Beach Community Foundation at 400 Oceangate, Suite 800, Long Beach, CA 90802. Check donations should include "Migrant Children Support Fund" on the check designation.  

Businesses and organizations interested in providing complementary services at the HHS shelter should complete an interest form, which will be submitted to HHS for review and consideration.

City officials said examples of services include food/meal services, education, recreation, entertainment, family reunification, child supervision, legal services, religious services, language translation, facility set-up assistance and health care.  

The city is also working with HHS to identify additional ways the community can get involved, including through volunteer opportunities. Information on how to become an HHS sponsor is available at www.acf.hhs.gov/orr/about/ucs/sponsors.  

The children are expected to be at the convention center for a period of 90 to 120 days, with no housing of children past Aug. 2 at the latest, officials have said.

The city hopes to begin using the facility to host regular events as soon as August, with most COVID-19 restrictions expected to be lifted by then.

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