WATSONVILLE, Calif. (KION) Once a month, the Center for Farmworker Families organizes a distribution center in Watsonville for farmworker families across the Central Coast.
"We provide food, household goods, and clothing," said the director, Dr. Ann Lopez. "Baby items and it just continues to grow."
This began three years ago after Dr.Lopez became in contact with a family who did not have enough money to buy food. Dr. Lopez then realized this was an issue many farmworker families were facing that needed to be addressed.
“I cannot tolerate the idea that farmworkers work so hard, die at an average life expectancy of 49 years to feed me and other people, and are hungry in their own homes,” she said.
The center has been partnered with Second Harvest Food Bank for three years. The center also relies on donations and volunteers. Ernestina Solario is one of them but is also a farmworker who benefits from these events.
“It's difficult at times, farmworkers don’t make enough," said Solario. "Rent is expensive here plus all of the utilities. This helps the community, even if it's to save the little money they do have for other things they need at home."
Depending on the season, the distribution center serves typically 150 families but in the winter, that number increases to 350 families.
As of spring, Community Alliance for Resilience and Equity CARE has provided free chiropractic, acupuncture, and massages to farmworkers.
“Their needs are getting met less and less and less," said Melissa Manning Collins with CARE. "They are doing back-breaking work and having to live in fear and with a lot of basic needs that aren't guaranteed in their life. That causes a lot of stress and so, it's important for us to be able to bring some relief.”
"All three organizations focus on disaster relief and underserved populations to bring holistic wellness such as chiropractic, medical massage, acupuncture, and those types of modalities to different communities that don't usually have as much access to that type of care," said Manning Collins.
Farmworker families who would like to benefit from these services can call the center at (831) 216-8772 to get additional information. Donations can be made online or in person.