About Amigos Del Tren
Amigos del Tren started July, 2014, when Marcelo Gonzales moved to Irapuato, Mexico. One day, while going to town, Marcelo stopped at the train crossing and watched as the train, or The Beast (La Bestia) as locals call it, passed by with its cargo.. But on this day, the cargo was not its’ usual train cars. It was full of people. They were holding on tightly to the top of the train as it sped through the city.
It was a mystery to Marcelo, so he started asking the locals of Irapuato about the people who rode so dangerously on top of the cargo trains. Who were they? Where did they come from? He was met with mixed feelings about the stowaways from Central America going North.
Marcelo started going near the train tracks to investigate for himself. He sought out some of the migrants to talk with them, He was eager to get to know their stories. There were children, women, and men hiding behind bushes and dried weeds. They were scared, dirty, and hungry. Some of them had not eaten in days, and all of them wore filthy clothes with holes in their shoes. When they realized Marcelo was there to help and not hurt them, they told him they had been traveling for the past twenty days from Honduras. They starting telling Marcelo about their journey and how they had been robbed, sexually assaulted, and even hurt by the Mexican border patrols and drug dealers along the way. His heart was truly broken for them.
Marcelo called his friend Lucero Velazquez, and together they went to the train tracks to feed, clothe, and physically care for all the migrants that pass through the city, waiting to hop on the next cargo train again. This is the beginning of what is now called "Amigos del Tren" (Friends of the Train).
Since that first trip to the tracks in 2014, Amigos del Tren has now helped more than 5,800 migrants. "We have opened up our doors to women and children that need shelter through the night, and have taken those in need of medical attention to the hospital". Each Christmas, as funds have allowed, Amigos del Tren has traveled to cities with large concentrations of migrants to throw a Banquets of Hope for them. Each Christmas has consisted of 600 migrants or more. So far, we have been able to reach migrants in Irapuato, Mexicali, and Tenosique Tabasco. "It is our joy and hope to continue this journey of helping our neighbors for many years to come"...