La Posada Providencia's new pavilion building is used just about every day.

The small, yellow structure is poised on the front of the property in San Benito, Texas, and there, women and children who have traveled hundreds of miles fleeing countries that have not been kind to them, gather to eat, talk and take classes, among other activities. Sister Zita Telkamp, the shelter's program director is


well aware this is a project that could not have been completed without the monetary support as well as physical labor efforts of the Harlingen Sunburst Rotary Club, District 5930 of Rotary International.

Telkamp, also a member of the Sunburst Rotary Club, makes sure to thank the members of the club every opportunity she has.

It took three months to complete the 20-foot-by-30-foot, $20,000 pavilion that has lighting and fans inside.

Former Harlingen Sunburst Rotary Club President and Rev. Charlie Palmer, who was among those helping with the building of the facility, said about 15 volunteers at one time lent their hands to work on it.

Palmer sometimes didn't have to ask club members for help, they just showed up. True proof in the passion for this project and helping the community in a way only Rotarians can.  

Since 1989, La Posada has provided a safe haven to thousands of people from more than 70 countries.

It provides shelter, food, training, transportation and mentoring to today’s immigrants, all of whom are in the process of gaining legal asylum or residency.

The shelter was founded and is sponsored by the Sisters of Divine Providence. The shelter staff provides a safe and welcoming home, mentors to promote self-sufficiency and cultural integration, and imparts values which “witness God’s Providence in our world.”

The pavilion was built for the clients. Telkamp said, it’s her job to see they are cared for.

The clients, mainly women and children, have traveled hundreds of miles fleeing their home countries.

Most, if not all, are fleeing some type of religious persecution and government unrest.

As a safe haven, La Posada has relied heavily on the kindness of the community, including organizations like the Harlingen Sunburst Rotary Club.

“That will give residents a place where they can all congregate,” Palmer said during the grand opening ceremony for the pavilion. “Before, when they got everyone together they didn’t have a place that was big enough.”

Now they do.

“This is beyond my dream,” Telekamp said.

As a shelter that also aims to educate the public on immigration, they often host many volunteers from around the United States throughout the year. Telkamp said they often have students, especially during Spring Break, who are interested in presentations and tours.

“We don’t have space because of how many clients we have, so this will be a good space for them to meet. They’ll also have space to tutor,” she said.

“My heart is full of gratitude,” Telkamp said.