Monthly Report: September & October 2021

Programmatic Update

Despite the ending growing season, the Project Protect Promatora Network (the Network) engaged in 20,677 conversations during September and October and 14,008 of these conversations targeted agricultural workers. Conversations with people who had no previous contact with the Network accounted for 15% of these, understandably lower than at Summer's height. Even so, the year's work was far from over, and the Network's 80 community leaders have been engaging with their communities, promoting relationships with leaving H-2A and migrant workers in order to ensure assistance next season. To this end, existing regional partnerships continue to expand, and all regions are actively working to identify new potential organizations to further their goals.


As migrant workers leave the state for the year, promotores have been reporting on large attendance events throughout Colorado. Over 50% of the conversations in September and October took place at events either assisted by or organized through the regional teams. Events were primarily focused on item distribution and the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and often overlapped in these topics. The Network assisted 9,525 people across all events that distributed items, giving out 4,415 food boxes and 1,151 items of clothing. The colder months have been consistently reported on and is also reflected in the 160% increase in clothing distribution for September and October.


The continued, if not heightened, concern about the COVID-19 pandemic is driving attendance of the Network's events. Promotores have responded by having 12,103 conversations concerning COVID-19 while increasingly hosting and assisting with vaccination and booster clinics as well as conducting more individual pandemic outreach. The heightened concern was also seen in item distribution: 8,873 face masks and 661 COVID tests were distributed in September and October, far more than in the previous two months. Thankfully, resistance to vaccination is being noted less and promotores across the Network are reporting a willingness to get the recommended boosters.


While an event may be promoted as a vaccination clinic or food drive, promotores report giving outreach on an array of topics. The presence of informed community members enables service on several fronts—seen in entries where families arrive with questions about vaccinating their children, and leave with information about food stamps, transportation, or legal services. Through promoting events to agricultural workers in the area, event organizers have seen higher turnout and an increased reach of their organizations, which in turn has raised awareness about local services. Recent months have shown that the Network is able to provide both small and large scale outreach to communities across the state.


Regional Highlights: September & October

In this report, we are highlighting the hearts of service that the people in our network share. While the promotores are privy to a number of distressing stories, they also bring strength and love to their work. In each region’s section appears such a story, recorded by the promotores through their outreach work and often through multiple entries over time. These entries highlight the varied sort of work the promotores do, and showcase the passion each has.


North 1 Story

Claudia Chavez has been developing strong networks with workers in her region since the region has been conducting outreach. When visiting five Mexican agricultural workers to invite them to Project Protect’s Dia De Muertos Vigil, she was referred to an individual in need of assistance:

La Sra. trabajadora del campo llegó de otro estado a Colorado con sus dos hijos jóvenes. Esta trabajadora migrante y sus hijos necesitan de todo, por ahora, cada uno de ellos trae solamente una pequeña maleta.
Ella me cuenta que su esposo la abandonó después de 30 años. Aquí, tiene a un familiar que la recibió mientras consigue trabajo y donde vivir. Me sentí impotente, al ver a la Sra. triste y sin muchas esperanzas. Me da mucha tristeza que después de 30 años de casada, ahora esté sola y comenzando de cero con sus hijos jóvenes y en otro estado.
Antes de llegar aquí, me llamo referida por alguien de Palombo Farm. Inmediatamente después comencé a llamar para ver dónde están solicitando trabajadores del campo. Afortunadamente encontré que en Tagawas florería solicitaban trabajadores. La lleve a llenar la solicitud de empleo y le dijeron que la llamaran para una entrevista.
Se que ella saldría adelante. Apoyare con recursos, y en todo lo que pueda a la Sra. trabajadora del campo migrante y a sus dos hijos.

- October 25, 2021 [12213]


The story shows a sort of outreach that is often provided, but difficult to report on. Claudia was not distributing food boxes or clothing, but instead helping secure livelihood after a traumatic event. Equally, it shows the sort of varied networking that’s been inspired through promotores’ actions and the power it brings to assist.


North 2 Story

North 2 often assists agricultural workers who have been injured on the job but do not report their injuries to work because they fear being fired. Among these stories is an example where Dorothy Meza from North 2 assisted an older woman in accessing healthcare, providing her with translation and transportation at the hospital, and navigating the Medicare process.

La sra recolectora de esta historia tiene 65 años, se cayó hace un mes en su trabajo mientras recolectaba cebolla, desde entonces no puede caminar. No pidió ayuda al patrón por miedo a ser despedida. Aunque todavía no se había recuperado de la caída, apenas pudo caminar, regresó a los campos para seguir trabajando y conseguir dinero para su renta.
Después de varios días de no tener respuesta de nuestra recolectora, nuestra compañera de enlace comunitario fue a visitarla, estaba preocupada porque ella no contestaba el teléfono. Al buscarla nos dimos cuenta que estaba enferma, nuestra compañera la encontró con fiebre y vómito y la llevó a urgencias, pues la sra llevaba 3 días vomitando. La sra fue internada esa noche pues tenía el potasio muy bajo. La trabajadora social jamás le ayudó a hacer la aplicación para medicamentos y le dijo que no podían hacerle descuento, entonces la Sra Recolectora tendría que pagar una factura por hospitalización y oxígeno. Salió del hospital al día siguiente y fue llevada a casa por nuestra compañera.
Fue complicado ayudarla porque no se mueve bien, no tiene auto ni quien le transporte, tampoco quería molestar a los patrones para no perder su trabajo. Ella no sabe leer ni escribir y no habla Inglés, pero es residente legal. La sra no tiene ingresos, no tiene Medicare, y no tiene carro. Su hija trabaja todo el día y tiene un nieto.
Fue una bendición que nuestra compañera de enlace comunitario llegará a visitarla, la llevara al hospital, la acompañara todo el tiempo y después la dejara en casa. Dedicadamente nuestra compañera de enlace se encargó de ayudarle a tramitar Medicare y descuentos. También de acompañarla a sus citas.
Con el fin de proteger a ambas personas involucradas en la historia cambie algunas cosas.

- September 27, 2021 [11419 & 11673]

Employer retaliation is consistently reported on in all the region’s outreach—but the consequences are rarely seen as vividly as the stories experienced by the promotores themselves.


North 3 Story

As children return to school, many of the promotores in North 3 spoke with parents who were struggling to guide their children through the school system. Some spoke about youth who acted out because they were held back a grade and now are older than their classmates. Another helped a family understand how therapists can be good resources for children who refused to do homework or are doing poorly in school.


While assistance on the problems faced in the school system are important, they do not reflect the entirety of the region. Promotores also assist in other ways, seen when Lucia Trejo helped a family who wanted children to go to college, but did not know how the process worked or how to prepare for it.

Necesitan saber cómo prepararse para mandar a sus hijos al colegio para que sigan estudiando y prepararse para que tengan una mejor vida.
Darles la información que pidieron y decirles que fueran al evento que están haciendo este 9 de octubre ''FAMILIAS EN COLEGIO'' donde tendrán información más clara y específica.

- October 6, 2021 [11729]


Importantly, Lucia was able to give both support and resources to the family. Not only did she give advice on the process, but was able to connect them with a coming event. Importantly, Lucia was also giving out facemasks and vaccination information—providing such strong educational outreach at the same time shows how varied these encounters can be.


San Luis Valley Story

Food distribution is a large part of the work in the San Luis Valley and the promotora team there gets creative with sourcing fresh vegetables. Amanda Alanis, Amalia Baltazar, Juan Gonzalez and Laura Malouff visited a farm to glean uncollected vegetables so they could include fresh produce in the week’s food distribution.

On Wednesday, we went to Center, Colorado to pick potatoes from the Ford Farm. We went along with the co-owner and picked potatoes that were left behind from the combine. Picking potatoes and turnips during the week at a local farm helped us include fresh items in the food boxes.
We held a food box distribution event at the La Jara Town Hall in La Jara, CO 81140 and were given special permission from the town manager, Larry Zaragoza, to utilize the space outside the town hall. We also had local law enforcement on stand-by parked near the event. She helped guide traffic, gave referrals to families, and also delivered some on our behalf.

- October 1, 2021 [11556]


Rural agricultural communities often work hardest for basic food access even when the food is grown in their own town. Through the distribution of food boxes and their reporting, it is often easy to overlook the additional work done by promotores to make this important work occur.


Southeast Story

Access to transportation is a chronic problem that results in reduced access to basic needs. Migrant, seasonal and H-2A agricultural workers in particular face transportation barriers caused by shared vehicles in remote rural housing complexes. Koralia De Lara encountered one such situation wherein she brought food items to a group of agricultural workers and proceeded to assist them in running their errands.

Les llevé despensas a los 25 trabajadores y uno de ellos fue transportado a una cita de doctor que tenía. También lo lleve a que cambiara su cheque y a que recogiera su prescripción que el doctor le había recetado.
Para ellos adquirir transportación para ir al médico, dentista o oculista les es muy difícil ya que los otros chicos se llevan el único transporte que tienen que es el camioncito, claro para irse a trabajar. En algunos casos también encontrar quien les traduzca es un desafío.
Gracias a la secretaría de la clínica Pueblo Community Health Center de Avondale, que nos ha ayudado muchísimo. Nos ayudó a solicitar las tarjetas de descuento para muchos trabajadores. Al igual en cuanto la llamamos para hacerles una cita a cualquier trabajador ella pronto los agenda.

- September 2, 2021 [10719]


Beyond connection to organizations, Koralia’s personal friendships allow her to expertly bridge gaps in access and are another aspect of the Network’s outreach unseen in the simple reporting of numbers.


Western Slope 1 Story

Brenda Tanori helped an agricultural worker who was finished with the season and was scheduled to leave the country. Unfortunately, his COVID test results were delayed and he needed them to board his flight. Brenda spent hours helping him find a rapid test during a hectic encounter.

He didn't want to get covid vaccine and when he saw it was getting impossible to find a rapid covid test he wanted JJ shot but it is no longer available here.
Had to go to different places to get a COVID test on 10/18 hoping to get results on 10/19. But, we didn't get them by 7:00 pm 10/19 so I went with him to urgent care. He paid $120 to get the rapid response test so we could get the results in 15 minutes, because his flight was scheduled to leave in 12 hours at 7:45 am the following morning.
It was really intense with him because we were running out of time to get the test results. Thank God we finally had the results in his hands at 8:30 p.m 10/19.
He was so grateful that I didn't give up. He thought that he would lose his flight because of not having the covid test.

- October 19, 2021 [12051]


COVID-19 tests are frequently distributed by promotores during outreach—as seen in the hundreds distributed the past two months. However, that number doesn’t fully reflect the complex service promotores often provide. Brenda may have only provided a single COVID test, but the results of her doing so were incredibly important.


Western Slope 2 Story

While Western Slope subregion 2 is still developing their data collection skills and learning to work with GPS units to map remote routes for visiting range workers, they nonetheless provide important insights about the workers they encounter. Specifically, Ignacio Alvardo has heard about labor and wage rights violations that have not been reported to officials.

No quieren reportar que les pagan menos dinero de lo que deben ganar. Mucho riesgo de trabajar indocumentados.

- September 12, 2021 [11139]


Bringing these workers duffle bags, hygiene kits, and food has provided much needed relief and already kindled the beginning of strong friendships. Continued outreach will begin to assist in voicing the concerns this community has.


The Upcoming Holidays

Last year, even though the network was only 2 months old, the dedicated teams across the state worked through the holidays to bring agricultural workers and families Thanksgiving meals, Christmas gifts, and winter clothing. The holiday season is upon us again, as are skyrocketing COVID numbers. The network needs your help and donations now, more than ever as we continue to bring love and gratitude to those who steward our land and food.


To make a financial donation please visit www.projectprotectfoodsystems.org/donate, to donate items for the holiday season, contact Hunter@ProjectProtectFoodSystems.org .


This report was prepared by Kassandra Neiss and Mark Ludke with contributions from Claudia Chavez, Ere Juarez, Dorothy Meza, Soraya Leon, Lucia Trejo, Amanda Alanis, Amalia Baltazar, Juan Gonzalez, Laura Malouff, Koralia De Lara, Brenda Tanori, and Ignacio Alvardo.



November 17, 2021


For more information, please contact:

Kassandra Neiss

Data Activist and Systems Manager | Frontline Farming

Kasey@FrontLineFarming.org


32 views0 comments