Borrego Ministers' Association
Kindess In, Kindness Out
Last updated 6/21/2020 at 1:43pm
The calls started coming in with a vengeance the second week after Borrego Springs closed down due to COVID-19. With hundreds of locals out of work, bills were piling up and their last paychecks were being spent quickly. Many waited for unemployment, some didn’t qualify and others were hopeful that the Immigrant Funds would soon be distributed (backlogged at this time). Folks called about food certificates to local stores, gas coupons for out of town medical visits and their mounting fears of the months ahead with no work in sight.
That was two months ago, and the tidal wave of calls to the Borrego Ministers’ Association is swelling into a possible tsunami. Our members are fielding calls daily for assistance to families with ever-growing financial needs. They know that they won’t be evicted if rent is not paid nor will their power be shut off due to an unpaid utility bill, but the accumulation of debt that will eventually need to be addressed is daunting and insurmountable to our locals.
With no “Social Services Office” available in our village, folks turn to the Borrego Ministers’ Association (BMA) with their needs, both spiritual and physical. We are a group of church leaders and lay people who have been ministering to the needy in Borrego Springs since 2010.
Begun by Rev. Laura Brecht, St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, the BMA is a non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible. Our funds come from three yearly services (Christmas, Thanksgiving and Easter Sunrise) as well as private donations and grants. Our meager budget of around $5,000 was boistered last January with the awarding of $10,000 from Borrego Valley Endowment.
Soon after this, the pandemic hit and the calls began. In truly miraculous fashion, funds have been coming in almost as quickly as they are going out. Although the BMA has given out over $31,000 in assistance over the last few months, our balance remains around $18,000.
This is due to the incredible kindness and generosity of Borregans! You must know the huge positive impact your donations are having on families and individuals, especially the food certificates from Center Market and Desert Pantry.
Recently, the BMA donated gas coupons to the mother of a graduating senior whose family was forced to relocate to a camping site far from school due to financial challenges. This gas coupon enables him to attend school once a week and will allow the family to drive back next week for his high school graduation ceremony.
The BMA has assisted 20 families in making their rent payments, allowing them to cover other financial obligations such as utility bills. We work with landlords and SDGE to waive late fees and broker lower payments. We feed folks giving away over $13,800 in food certificates. The work is exciting and rewarding and needed more than ever during this time. The words of appreciation from folks are effervescent and shared with emotional honesty.
El Shelden Lawrence, a BMA member put it aptly, “I appreciate the uniqueness of the BMA in that it serves all of the citizens of Borrego Springs by helping them in a time of need, their ‘bridge over troubled waters’.”
The Borrego Ministers’ Association, with your donations, might very well be keeping our village afloat during these troubled times. We are able to relieve much suffering, worry and sleepless nights for many folks. This will become ever more vital as the tsunami swells over the next few months of unknowns.
We are accepting donations and every penny stays in Borrego Springs. Donations may be sent to BMA, PO Box 2183. Please contact one of the BMA members below with any questions, requests or referrals. We thank you in advance.
Martha Deichler (619-948-5900)
School Community Liaison
Laura Brecht (760-767-3620)
Diane Johnson (203-644-5583)
Shirley Vialpando (760-767-5417)
St. Barnabas Episcopal
St. Richard Catholic
Community United Methodist
Slab City Ministries
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints