Mayra Becerra, Ivanhoe Sol
“We represent farm workers but also the entire community,” an encouraging message from Nancy Oropeza, a community organizer from United Farm Workers Foundation (UFW) at a local community aid event.
On Thursday, November 19th the United Farm Workers Foundation based out in Bakersfield hosted an event to support the Ivanhoe community during the COVID pandemic. Those who attended the event received reusable masks, a $25 prepaid card to help with groceries, and a flier on how to stay safe from COVID.
This event occurred the same week California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a new curfew to limit the spread of COVID throughout the state and where 94% of the state was placed on the most restrictive state regulations to prevent further spread of COVID.
Initially, 64 families were contacted for the first round of outreach. Afterwards, Ivanhoe residents who attended shared that they received notice through various ways including text messages, Facebook posts, or word of mouth from a family member or friend.
Many residents arrived early and waited in their cars until about 11am when the event was set to start and started lining up. The event was hosted outside of Lozas Taquerias on Rd. 159 which was a location that did not allow for a drive through event.
The registration was a small survey asking for their name, phone number and if they were farm workers. Being a farmworker was not required but UFW wanted to know how many farm workers they were able to assist that day.
Nancy and her team then assisted each person in verifying their information and handed them an envelope with a prepaid card and two packs of reusable masks. Residents were happy to have some much-needed assistance.
The UFW has worked since April trying to assist families to fill the needs arising from the COVID 19 pandemic. As the months progressed, their staff reported seeing many different needs arising in communities like Ivanhoe in different areas ranging access to health care, education, and other hardships managing children staying home for school.
This was the first event in Tulare County and UFW is planning on coming back to Ivanhoe. The event was a success, and event organizers shared that they were able to help 100 families with a $25 prepaid card. The UFW is also planning on hosting similar events in other counties like Fresno, Kern, Monterrey, Santa Cruz, Oxnard, and Ventura County.
Aside from providing direct relief, UFW staff said another goal was to get residents contact information in order to connect residents with additional resources, if their organization receives more donations.
Nancy realized the need is a great need for outside resources to survive the COVID pandemic in Ivanhoe and Tulare County. Reflecting on the event Nancy concluded, “So what I can say, according to my experience today is that this means we need to look out for more resources.”
If interested in contacting the United Farm Workers Foundation you can reach them at phone number (661) 324-2500 or text “esencial” to 877877.