With migrant children expected to arrive at Long Beach Convention Center this week, city sets up online portal for people to help

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A concourse is seen inside the Long Beach Convention Center on April 7, 2021 in Long Beach. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

A concourse is seen inside the Long Beach Convention Center on April 7, 2021 in Long Beach. (PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images)

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With preparations underway to welcome hundreds of migrant children at the Long Beach Convention Center, the city on Monday announced an online portal for people who want to help the youths affected by the humanitarian crisis at the U.S.-Mexico border. 

Long Beach is temporarily housing up to 1,000 unaccompanied minors at the convention center, and the children will begin arriving this week.

The new portal directs community members to where to make tax-deductible monetary donations to help the children.

It also lets organizations sign up to provide complimentary services at the temporary shelter, like health care, legal services, family reunification, education, meal services and language translation. 

“There’s been overwhelming interest from our community to welcome and support the migrant children who will be coming to our city,” Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia said in a statement. “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.”

While the shelter and reunification effort are led by federal officials, Long Beach is helping with supporting the youths while they wait to be reunited with their family or a U.S. sponsor.

The city council voted unanimously earlier this month to approve plans to use the convention center to provide shelter, food and recreational activities to the children.

The Biden administration opened multiple temporary sites to house children amid the influx of migrants at the border.

Long Beach isn’t the only California city to help shelter the unaccompanied children. A number of unaccompanied migrant children will soon be given temporary housing at the Pomona Fairplex in Los Angeles County.

The San Diego Convention Center is also being used as a temporary facility for teenage girls through mid-July. 

People interested in volunteering at the Long Beach convention center could submit a form on the portal so the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services could reach out to them with any volunteer opportunities. Volunteers would have to undergo a comprehensive background check to allow them to interact with minors, officials said.

While donations can be made online, officials say people can also mail 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 designation.

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