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Coronavirus

Local organizations collect $700K to support farmworkers affected by COVID-19

farmworkers

First 5 RiversideLift to RiseTODEC, and Visión y Compromiso came together to collect $700,000 that will go towards directly supporting farmworkers affected by COVID-19.

"We are honored to be able to join with TODEC, Vision y Compromiso, and First Five Riverside to provide immediate relief and stability for farmworker families in Coachella Valley who are so central to the economy, culture and history of our region," said Heather Vaikona, President and CEO of Lift to Rise. "This type of collective effort embodies the spirit of our community and is exactly what it will take in the long term to transform our community investment system, and lift our region from one where too many families face economic uncertainty to one that is prosperous with economic opportunity for all." 

The resourced collected as part of regional efforts include:

  • $300,000 in cash assistance for farmworkers who test positive for
    COVID-19
    • The goal of this is to encourage more farmworkers to get tested by taking away the worry of financial hardship that they would face if they have to miss work due to a positive test
  • An additional $200,000 is being distributed to help local farmworkers offset the high cost of having children at home during the pandemic

"It is imperative that we work together to serve those most in need at this time when we are seeing an increase in cases and the economic impact continues on our most vulnerable workforce in Riverside County," said Melinda Cordero-Barzaga, Associate Director for Vision y Compromiso.

According to the organizations, data collected during emergency cash and rental assistance efforts conducted by United Lift revealed that farmworker households have been severely impacted by the pandemic. Farming and agriculture were among the top occupations of residents who applied for cash and rental assistance.

In addition, there was a high percentage of applicant who reported issues preventing them from accessing public support. This included being ineligible due to citizenship status and listed language and public charge barriers.

"We recognize the disparate impact COVID-19 is having on Coachella Valley farmworkers, especially those with children 0-5, and are inspired to be working with grassroots organizations with deep community ties and that are able to help deliver resources directly to people in need," said Tammi Graham, Executive Director of First 5 Riverside County. 

Another issue identified was that a majority of the applicants are parents with children who go to school. The costs of childcare and having children home from school among their top COVID-19 related financial burdens

"The coronavirus pandemic is having a disproportionate impact on the health and economic well-being of our most vulnerable essential workers, nuestros campesinos," said Luz Gallegos, Executive Director of the TODEC Legal Center. "As an advocacy organization, TODEC is committed to continue advocating to secure long overdue resources to a population that deserves so much. We look forward to this collective effort in support of our beloved Coachella Valley farmworker community."

For more information on the organizations behind this collaborative effort, visit:

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Jesus Reyes

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