TACOMA, Wash. – Tacoma Community House is standing firm on its mission to make Tacoma a welcoming place for immigrants and refugees.
"There is just a lot of anxiety and fear and lack of information about what is happening," said Liz Dunbar, Tacoma Community House executive director.
Dunbar added that President Donald Trump's temporary ban on entry from seven countries has led to questions about whether immigrants and refugees are safe to go to the store or attend school.
"We have people calling us saying they are afraid," said Dunbar.
Tacoma Community House helped about 3,000 immigrants and refugees last year. Of that number, at least 200 were from the countries where travel to the U.S. has now been halted under immigration orders, according to Dunbar.
First, the travel ban sparked a protest at Sea-Tac Airport. Then it led to a massive march in downtown Seattle on Sunday. At Tacoma Community House, what followed were the phone calls and at least 15 online messages inquiring about how to volunteer.
"We had a record number the day after the election, and we had a very large number show up today," said Dunbar.
Beverly Bowen-Bennett is one of the new volunteers. She worked her first shift Monday morning.
"I don't know what all I can do, but I know one thing, I can volunteer to help the people who have made it here feel like somebody is on their side," said Bowen-Bennett.