Monthly Report: September & October 2021

Updated: Jul 15

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:

She told me that her husband left her after 30 years. Here, she has a relative who took her in her while she looks for a job and a place to live. I felt helpless, seeing this woman sad and without much hope. It makes me very sad that after 30 years of marriage, she is now alone and starting from scratch with her young children and in another state.
Before I arrived, I recieved a call from someone from Palombo Farm. Right after that I started calling to see where farmworkers are being hired. Fortunately, I found that in Tagawas flower shop they were requesting workers. I took her to fill out the job application and was told to call her for an interview.
I know she will pull through. I will support with resources, and in everything I can, this migrant farm worker and her two children.

- 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.

The lady in this story is 65 years old, she fell a month ago at work while picking onions, and since then she has not been able to walk. She did not ask the boss for help for fear of being fired. She still had not recovered from the fall, she was barely able to walk, she returned to the fields to continue working and get money for her rent.
After several days of not having a response from our collector, our community liaison partner went to visit her, she was worried because she did not answer the phone. When looking for her we realized that she was sick, our partner found her with a fever and vomiting and took her to the emergency room, because she had been vomiting for 3 days. The lady was hospitalized that night because her potassium was very low. The social worker never helped her apply for medications and told her that they could not give her a discount, so Mrs. Collector would have to pay a bill for hospitalization and oxygen. She left the hospital the next day and was taken home by our partner.
It was difficult to help her because she doesn't move well, she doesn't have a car or someone to transport her, she didn't want to bother her bosses either so as not to lose her job. She cannot read or write and does not speak English, but she is a legal resident. Mrs. she has no income, she does not have Medicare, and she does not have a car. Her daughter works all day and has a grandson.
It was a blessing that our community liaison partner came to visit her, took her to the hospital, accompanied her the entire time, and then dropped her off at home. Our liaison colleague was dedicated to helping you process Medicare and discounts. She also accompany her to her appointments.
In order to protect both people involved in the story I changed a few things.

- 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


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