SAMU Staff goes the extra mile

“The SAMU First Response staff has been working around the clock to serve the increasing needs and arrivals of migrants from the border. This month, they received 26 buses from Texas and Arizona.”

The month of September this year in Washington, D.C. has been one of the busiest and most hectic months of 2023. The SAMU First Response staff has been working around the clock to serve the increasing needs and arrival of migrants from the border. This month, we received a total of 26 buses from Texas and Arizona, which thus far has been the most buses that we have received this year!

In order to successfully welcome and process each individual and family, the intake team worked long and hard hours receiving buses at any hour of the day and night. There were many days where the intake team worked 22-hours straight to welcome buses that arrived at 3:00am, 11:00am, and 10:00pm. These were the days when our team was most tired and worn-out, but they continued to show their commitment to helping others. Members of the entire staff banded together coming from the data and reporting team, management, and service/logistics team to help and assist their team members, by taking shifts to welcome buses so that they could give the intake team a day to be able to rest and return rejuvenated.  This is truly the definition of what teamwork looks like and how each staff member embodies the mission of SAMU to save lives.

During the month of September, our staff worked diligently to be available 24/7 for the increased arrival of buses and walk-ins. This was truly a time where the passion, heart, and dedication shone brightly from each team member of SAMU. We successfully welcomed 1,112 individuals to our welcome center and have supported 298 families during their migration journey (63.81% arrived from Texas, 15.24% arrived from Arizona, and 20.94% arrived as a walk-in directly referred to our reception center). We were able to offer shelter to 379 migrants at our dedicated respite centers located in Montgomery County in Maryland and Washington, D.C. Furthermore, we were able to purchase tickets for 497 individuals to travel onward to their final destinations where friends and families awaited their arrivals.

Although this month was a very busy and hard month for our staff, it truly showed how the staff members that work at each of the reception centers truly support each other and do everything they physically can to support those that need an extra hand when entering this country. By the end of September, we have welcomed 11,642 individuals since the start of our operations on June 21, 2022. We are lucky that our staff is willing and able to go the extra mile to serve each migrant that passes through our door, whether that be a birthday celebration for a child, providing a peaceful night of rest to be able to continue on in their journey, or our staff working 22 hours straight in a day away from their homes and families, all in the name of being able to help those that arrive to our respite center doors. The spirit of SAMU truly lives in each and every one of our staff members.

As the year ends and we are preparing for more arrivals from the border and walk-ins from other cities, we are also looking forward to providing moments of celebration for our guests and staff members. We are currently working on plans to celebrate Halloween, Day of the Dead, Thanksgiving, Giving Tuesday, Christmas, New Years Eve, and other special traditions that are celebrated by each of the countries and cultures that are represented in the migrants that pass through our doors. We at SAMU First Response continue to strive to be a part of and help with the spark of hope and celebration that a new life in the United States brings.