Just 1 at a Time


at a time
Just 1 at a Time

Just One Smile

We heartily encourage you to link any and all Amazon purchases through our AmazonSmile portal.

Simply click the link below, and Amazon will donate a percentage of your eligible total to One Story at a Time.

This is an excellent opportunity for all to support our initiatives. To access our AmazonSmile connection…

Think Globally, Act Locally . . .

We’re honored by the UUFC Immigrant & Refugee Support Team hosting a Pumpkin Patch on Saturday, October 17 and Sunday, October 18, 2020 to benefit One Story at a Time.

Though this is a local (Corvallis, OR) event, we are grateful to all ⏤ near and far ⏤ for your support. For those unable to attend, please consider making a donation to help sustain our work. Thank you!


In these troubled and troubling days of the COVID-19 pandemic…

One Story at a Time is working to help a number of people in shelters in Mexican border towns confront the peril⏤with food, medicine, masks, and hygiene products.


Your generosity helps our effort immensely.

The Portillo Family Seek Asylum

“…to identify those families who, while so beautiful and deserving of happy endings, will not survive without urgent, generous, intervention.”

Writer Aimee Ginsburg Bikel’s essay on the remarkable and troubling story of the Portillo family is compelling, essential reading and captures both the all-too-common plight of refugees at the border and the heart of what we do and why we do it.

Join our mailing list to receive important updates:

Our mission is to bring humanitarian aid and hope to the most vulnerable people in Mexican border towns and to support the volunteers who help to provide those in need with basic necessities, education, and life-affirming opportunities.

Why Us?

Your understanding and your support of these thousands of people on the border— caught between the lives they fled and the lives they seek — will help in direct, positive, and immediate ways.

We see the remarkable effects of your contributions. Your $10 provides a month of vitamins, your $20 those five new blankets, your $50 a new violin for a child to join an orchestra, your $200 a family’s opportunity to move from the streets into a safe community.

Know that our board members are not armchair fundraisers. Collectively, we are in border communities the entire year. And we take absolutely no salaries for our work.

The situation is extreme and often overwhelming. That’s why we choose to affect change with one pair of shoes, one medical exam, one scholarship, one teacher’s salary, one person, one story at a time.

Our goal is solidarity, not charity. The results? Time and again, as we continue to experience: your support is a way for us — migrant and donor alike — to reconnect with our own dignity.

In Gratitude: Rancho La Puerta

The Ranch is known for its magical connections, and we are living proof of how this works.

One Story board member Jill Thiry started “Sonidos de Sanacion,” a threshold choir in Tecate. Says Jill: “Sarah Livia Brightwood Szekely (President of Rancho La Puerta) recruited Maria Lourdes (Lulu) and Hermana Esperanza to sing with her. When a guest at the Ranch told Jill that Peter Yarrow wanted to sing at the border, she was able to reach out to Lulu. Within days the first concert had been scheduled, and rest is history. That was the night One Story at a Time was born.”

Rancho La Puerta Has . . .

• Donated food for the shelters from its organic garden, Tres Estrellas, during the pandemic.

• Given us gift certificates for day- and week-long stays to auction in order to raise money.

• Designed and donated a beautiful casita to assure safe housing for one of our helpers, Ron Wakefield.

• Sarah Livia has generously shared her vast knowledge about nonprofits with us.

Sarah Livia Brightwood Szekely, along with her mother Deborah Szekely, founder of The Ranch, and so many of the Ranch staff continue to help us so generously with donations, encouragement, and letting others know about our work.

We stand with great gratitude for their generosity and blessing.

Just One Donation at a Time

Your support makes a world of difference.
Please join us.

One Story at a Time

Beyond the politics and logistics, beyond the policies and the legalities, our open hearts respond to the news of the refugee and migrant crises on our Southern borders. Many of our own ancestors — even our own parents and grandparents —arrived in this country as refugees, escaping violence and untenable living situations, desperate to provide a better life for their children.

Our compassion stems not only from our own histories but also springs from our natural deep wells of love for all of our sisters and brothers. We hear their stories and feel called to action.

Emergency Relief

With the help of our local “eyes and ears” ⏤ especially our beloved Lulu, who works full time with our foundation and her vast network of other people in the Borderlands ⏤ we identify families and individuals with pressing needs, and we mobilize to find a quick solution.

Bus tickets, medical care, scholarship money, legal aid, blankets, enrollment fees, and roof repair, along with food, clothing, and medication for the refugee shelters in Tijuana: all make an immediate, tangible difference in the lives of those who once lived in dignity and are now struggling to survive.

Rebuilding Lives

Through our support of three flagship programs — Emergency Relief, The Resilience Project, and The Children’s Orchestra Project — we stand behind visionary volunteers and their migrant/refugee community in building new lives, away from the trauma and violence they fled.

By learning new skills, and offering the gifts of music and art, they can sustain their families and create a sense of meaning and purpose that leads to healing and resilience.

We know that the only thing that separates us from the fate of those sleeping tonight in crowded shelters or in ICE detention camps, cold and afraid, is the simple circumstance of our birth. We do not know how to solve the big picture, but we feel the urgent call to do what we can for those needing our hand. It is easy to become overwhelmed in the face of so much suffering, and we realize that the best way to help is one story at a time.

Some of the ways we're changing lives, together:

Shelter, Food & Clothing

Your contributions have helped us in . . .


bunk beds in shelters.


prepaid Visa cards for food and hygiene supplies for safe houses.


boxes of clothes, blankets, and healthy snacks for people living in the depths of poverty.

Inspiration, Aspiration & The Arts

We support people by teaching music, art, and literacy to the impoverished as a way to feed both inspiration and hope. Many of the people we serve have suffered major trauma, abuse, and loss, and we believe the arts offer one way to help them cope. We have sent art supplies to safe houses for children, and one of our new stories includes helping support the remarkable work of musician Ron Wakefield.


music, art, and literacy.


to cope with trauma, abuse, and loss.


art supplies to safe houses for children.

Education & Job Training

Although primary school is free, the fees for school supplies, uniforms, and transportation often add up to the equivalent of a family’s entire monthly salary. We supplement families that cannot afford to send their children to school. Another initiative is to teach women rescued from violent and hopeless situations to care for themselves with a new vocation. Your donations have purchased new sewing machines. With contributions to this long-term investment, many women will now have a new vocation they can use while transitioning from their previous lives.


abused women care for themselves with a new vocation.


long-term investments to assist woman transitioning from their previous lives.


families who cannot afford to send their children to school.

Your gift matters.

Discover how you can help change

One Child. One Woman. One Man.
One Family. One Hope. One Life.
One Story at a Time.

Ways to Help:
Sponsor a Concert
One-time or Monthly Donations
Buy a Resilience Project Bag

Some of the ways your donation helps change lives:


equals new shoes or five blankets.


equals a scholarship for a child to go to school for a month, transportation, supplies and food.


equals rent for a family to move from streets or shelter into a safer structure or 1-room house in a small community.


equals salary for a teacher for three weeks at the shelter.