ROTTERDAM, N.Y. (NEWS10) — One local organization coordinated a donation drive on Thursday which allowed them to distribute thousands of items to asylum seekers on Friday. Organizers called it a wild success.

Allies for Justice of Schenectady County organizer Liesha Sherman said migrant families have a tremendous amount of needs and she was excited to see people from around the Capital Region show up in droves. 

“It was amazing. It was hundreds and hundreds of people so that just feels overwhelming but it also feels right. That’s what Rotterdam is like,” said Sherman.

She’s thankful the community helped tighten the gap and met some of their needs Friday. 

“They’re new to our country. They don’t have anything. A lot of them came across the border with just the clothes on their back. We met them last week and they were wearing flip-flops. They had holes in their shoes and so they just really had a big need and the number one thing they asked us for were jobs,” said Sherman.

Last week migrants said they needed shoes and after putting out a call for donations on Facebook, the organization received over 2,000 pairs. Families need the essentials, so they can get jobs, and were moved after seeing how much has been donated for them. 

Marte Cordosa was extremely grateful for the generosity of the community after traveling through seven countries, having spent five days in a jungle, a journey that took her a month and a half to complete. She said her feet were swollen from the trek.

Cordosa has been here for two days and has finally caught up with her daughter and her young grandson. She said they fought for their lives to get here so they could find work to provide for their families. 

She described the difficulties encountered, including her time on a boat that capsized and claimed the lives of some. 

She said she came because her mother was sick and they didn’t have money to help her with medications. 

“I have another daughter in Venezuela. All I want to do is get a job so I can help my daughter. My mom died in Venezuela when I was coming here,” said Cordosa.

She’s happy with the donations and said it’s helping her because they came here with nothing. They are glad to finally be getting help after they had to live on the streets and sell candies throughout their journeys to get here. 

Cordosa said she left because it is insecure in Venezuela, adding she worked 12-hour days, seven days a week to only make $25. She’s grateful to legally be here and wants to stay and bring her other daughter over because the situation back there is too difficult, she said.

Volunteers, like Bill Sherman with Allies for Justice, say they’re doing what they can to provide direct services to families.

“It feels great. The way I look at it is that we are moms and dads, helping other moms and dads,” said Sherman.

He said over the past five days they have built a rapport with representatives at DocGo but it took time to gain their trust.

“And now that we have that relationship established I feel like we are working really well with them,” said Sherman. 

Allies for Justice of Schenectady County is seeking more volunteers to help them sort through the donations and to help them translate. 

On Friday only about a quarter of the items from Thursday were distributed, they have a warehouse full that still needs to be sorted through. Translators will be needed soon to help families enroll their children in school.

“We’re here to help. We want to stay out of the politics and all the other nonsense because all that arguing doesn’t put a pair of shoes on a child and doesn’t get her into school,” said Sherman.

Another concern Allies for Justice is trying to address is food. Asylum seekers are provided with two hot meals and one cold meal a day – plus a snack – but Sherman said it’s been hard on their digestive systems and has caused some discomfort.

Organizers are trying to identify restaurants that make foods that are closer to their cultures because they don’t have access to kitchens to cook for themselves.

Those who are interested in donating can reach out to the organization on Facebook.