A partnership between World Central Kitchen, the UFW Foundation, United Farm Workers and Cesar Chavez Foundation has over the nine weeks handed out 63,000 fresh ready-to-eat meals prepared by local restaurants to California farm worker families suffering during the coronavirus pandemic. More than 8,000 food relief boxes have also been separately provided by the UFW Foundation and UFW.
Over nine weeks, 63,000 restaurant-cooked meals have been distributed in Delano, Lamont, Madera, Greenfield and Santa Rosa. More than 16,000 of these meals are being distributed on a weekly basis, and locations are being added as the partnership expands. Helping spread the word about the meal and food distributions are the Cesar Chavez Foundation’s Spanish- and English-language radio network stations, La Campesina and the Forge, respectively.
Volunteers and staff handle the meal and food-box dispersals for which long lines of people on foot or in cars wait to pick up the bags or boxes as they drive or walk by distribution sites.
The UFW Foundation and United Farm Workers have been partnering with local food banks and pantries to distribute the more than 8,000food relief boxes or bags. Due to shortages some food banks have been experiencing from high demand, UFW Foundation also purchases food commodities to augment what is provided by food banks or other donors. The food-box distribution sites are located in farm worker communities, including Oxnard, the Salinas area, the southern Tulare County farm towns of Farmersville, Lindsay and Goshen, and in Kern County. More locations will be added in the weeks ahead.
“We know first-hand that the need is immense,” said UFW Foundation Executive Director Diana Tellefson Torres. “Our food distribution efforts bring relief to tens of thousands of farm workers and families in rural communities who are experiencing food insecurity amidst COVID-19. We will establish more food distribution sites in farm worker communities and continue to advocate for essential pay and benefits for farm workers who feed this nation.”
“Essential farm workers continue putting food on our tables, but too often can’t feed their own families,” said United Farm Workers President Teresa Romero. “In addition to food distributions, we will keep pushing for urgently needed remedies such as the two weeks of paid sick leave for farm workers we helped convince Governor Gavin Newsom to order plus employer implementation of effective protective and social distancing practices in the fields.”