Volunteer Opportunities Supporting Migrant Children and Families at the Border


There is a growing number of unaccompanied migrant children arriving at the US-Mexico border. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is working with local agencies in San Diego County to care for them until they are placed with a family member or sponsor. 

This is resource page with ways you can volunteer to support agencies caring for the migrant families and children.

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In-kind Donation Needs

  • South Bay Community Services

    • South Bay Community Services is helping provide social services to unaccompanied children and youth seeking temporary shelter at the San Diego Convention Center. They're requesting donations of new bedding, clothing, stuffed animals, and more. 

  • Casa Familiar

    • Casa Familiar is helping with provide services to unaccompanied children and youth seeking temporary shelter at the San Diego Convention Center. Donation drop-offs at their office in San Ysidro must be scheduled in advance as they are currently working remotely. Contact Programs Director Mirna Cruz at mirnac@casafamiliar.org or 619-428-1115 to coordinate a drop-off. 

    • All items must be in new condition:

      • Stuffed animals 

      • Spanish & English books for ages 4 to 17 

      • Notebooks/journals 

      • Coloring books 

      • Colored pencils, crayons & markers 

      • Pencils 

      • Construction paper 

      • Games & toys appropriate for ages 4 to 17 

      • Beach balls 

      • Educational learning games 

      • Flashcards: 

        • Alphabet-Spanish & English 

        • Numbers-Spanish & English 

        • Colors-Spanish & English 

        • Addition, Subtraction, Multiplication & Division 

  • Promises2Kids

    • All donations should be pre-arranged well ahead of time with their front desk, by calling 858-751-6602. The drop-off location is Promises2Kids, 9400 Ruffin Road, San Diego, CA 92123 (same parking lot as Polinsky Children’s Center).

    • All items must be NEW and in their original packaging.

      • For girls ages 12-17:

        • Women’s extra small undies

        • Girls’ extra-large undies

        • Deodorant

        • Sanitary pads and pantyliners (all sizes)

        • Tampons (all sizes)

        • Tween- and Teen-appropriate Magazines, in any language

      • For boys and girls ages 5-11:

        • Boys’ undies and socks for this age range

        • Toy cars

        • Cuddly blankets/snuggies

        • Coloring books

        • Small toys; NO strings or sharpness

      • For all youth:

        •  Spanish Language Books for all ages, especially Middle School

        • US Maps

        • World Maps

        • English Learning Games

        • Board Games that do not require reading in English and, if a few pieces get lost, it an still be played

        • Playing cards

        • Toothbrushes

        • Toothpaste

        • Mouthwash

        • Shampoo

        • Conditioner

        • Lotion

        • Brushes

        • Combs

        • Hair ties and soft headbands (no barrettes or clips; soft items only)

        • Very small stuffed animals with no hard edges

        • Blank Paper for Art

        • Thin Markers

        • Thick Markers

        • Crayons

        • Spiral Notebooks

        • Binders

        • Dividers

        • Folders

        • Lined Paper to put in Binder (with holes)

        • Pencil Case to put in Binder (with holes)

        • Regular Pens

        • Erasable Pens

        • Highlighters

        • Rulers

        • NO pencils

        • NO scissors

        • NO clothing other than specifically requested

        • NO bedding

    • Apply to volunteer with Promises2Kids. Volunteers support and run activities under the direction of SBCS at the convention center.