Valdosta Daily Times

July 25, 2013

Mexican consulate meets with 800-plus applicants

Quinten Plummer
The Valdosta Daily Times

VALDOSTA —  For a second day Wednesday, the Mexican consulate and staff worked their way through a list of more than 800 appointments at the Goodwill where hundreds of Hispanics waited to obtain passports and other legal documentation, according to Goodwill officials.

Goodwill staff circulated flyers in February announcing the week-long event, and the 820 appointments were set by May, said Goodwill Career Center Manager Carla Gervin.

“For me, this event is about improving the quality of everyday life,” said Gervin. “Everyone needs passports to travel, and you need IDs to enroll your students in school and so many other things.”

People came from surrounding counties to meet with the consulate, and a few even trekked from neighboring states, Gervin said. Participants only had to bring common identifying documents like birth certificates and picture IDs to receive passports and state IDs, according to the event’s flyers.

After obtaining their new documentation, several attendees opened bank accounts with Bank of America representatives who’d signed on as a partner throughout the four-day event, Gervin said. And while the career center joined forces with several groups to pull off the event, it has strengthened internal operations by staffing a bi-lingual support team, according to Gervin.

“Our Hispanic community has increased greatly over the last several years and that’s one of the reasons we’re focused on doing more outreach,” said Gervin. “There are a lot more of these types of events in North Georgia around Atlanta and even around Columbus. But a lot of times, South Georgia is forgotten about and that’s why we’re trying to bring more of these services to Valdosta.”