According to Sister Norma Pimentel, the Sacred Heart Respite Center has helped more than 65,000 people since doors opened in 2014.
Since then she has been dreaming of the opportunity to expand the center, in order to be able to offer better assistance to the migrants that cross our border. Her wish of a bigger facility will now become a reality.
The Sacred Heart Church purchased a lot across from the current respite center to reconstruct and expand the facility. Thursday was the ground breaking of the new site.
At the event, Sister Norma was accompanied by Bishop Daniel Flores and McAllen Mayor Jim Darling.
Darling emphasized the importance of helping the migrants, but said he is frustrated by the negative rhetoric that has surfaced due to the border crisis.
“We have been known as an unsafe area. Now, ’cause of border protection, we are the safest city in the state of Texas and 7th in the country,” said Darling.
As of right now, Darling does not know what role the city will play in the development of the project. However, if any needs arise in the process, he said he would discuss them with the city commissioners.
Darling stated that the Sacred Heart Respite Center is a humanitarian effort from many entities.
“If we didn’t do what we do in partnering with the Catholic Charities, and people would be walking around downtown McAllen midnight, one o’clock, two o’clock in the morning, we would probably be spending money on police protection,” added Darling.
The model for the center has not been finalized yet, therefore, the construction has not been scheduled.
Sister Norma was told it may cost up to $1 million to build, but she is confident she will be able to raise the funds needed.