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Monthly Report: September & October 2022

Programmatic Update


September and October marks the 2 year anniversary of Project Protect Promotora Network, as well as the annual departure of thousands of agricultural workers from Colorado as H-2A visas end and the last of the harvests are pulled from the fields. This year, as the world stepped further out of COVID pandemic the network of 65 regional directors, promotores, and community organizers found COVID response funding drying up. With much consideration, and difficult conversations over the summer, the Network restructured to remove the Neighborhood Organizer position to stabilize the funding of the network. Neighborhood Organizers were team members with limited work hours - while Promotores were paid for 20-25 hours per week, Neighborhood Organizers were employed at 10 hours per week. These outreach workers played strong roles for our network as they showed up in the most dire and needed situations, helping throw large events, accompanying promotores on distant or challenging outreach, and bringing important energy and heart to the regional teams. The Network felt the loss of this funding and their comrades, however many of these Neighborhood Organizers are still in community and finding ways to collaborate.


Nevertheless, the work continued as agricultural workers prepared for travel, their kids returned to school, and new challenges were faced by climate change, the economy, and public health crises. With a reduced team size, outreach numbers dropped across the Network even as the average number of conversations increased from 8 to 11, as it did last year around this same time. Of the 13,275 total conversations this month, 8,548 (63%) were with agricultural workers including almost 1,000 conversations with new connections.


COVID reduction and prevention and the continued wellbeing of the community was accomplished through distribution of resources, including 2,382 face masks, 1,284 at-home COVID tests, and 2,260 bottles of hand sanitizer in various sizes. Assistance with vaccine and booster appointments slowed, but did not stop, with 600 vaccine appointments assisted during these two months. Additionally, as winter approached, the Network mobilized to distribute 1,697 articles of cold weather clothing and 1,025 other clothing items to ensure workers and their families could protect themselves and their health through the harsh Colorado winters. Throughout the state and across regions, 45 agencies began donating to Project Protect Promotora Network’s winter coat drive for agricultural workers.


Neighborhood Organizers - mobilizing a labor of love

As the Neighborhood Organizer positions were cut from the network, this report is dedicated to them, their work, their knowledge, and their dedication. The contributions of the Neighborhood Organizers are immeasurable, as they accomplished so much through teamwork and collaboration with just 10 hours a week of outreach. In the past reports we have called all team members promotores, not differentiating between those who work 20 hours a week and those who work 10. The testimonies and narratives below demonstrate strong relationships that Neighborhood Organizers were able to cultivate within their communities in times of celebration, of hardship, and of kindness.


Western Slope Neighborhood Organizer Miriam Aleman has been part of our team since January 2021. In September 2022, she continued to work to protect agricultural workers against COVID,


There was a small COVID outbreak at Rogers Mesa Fruit Co.I had stopped by and dropped off some COVID exams previously as they continued to work. I just stopped by to check in on the workers to make sure they were doing good. The workers who felt sick were immediately sent home so it was contained. This week already most of them returned. I made sure that everyone was able to communicate with their employers if they were feeling sick. [21537]


Western Slope Neighborhood Organizer Maria Refugio has been part of the team since April 2021. She worked hard to find services for agricultural workers in a region where very few resources exist,


Muchas veces no alcanza el dinero para más alimentos y pagos de luz u otros pagos, o'si nosotros no tenemos fondos para ayudar. No hay muchas partes que ayuden, pero los remití a diferentes partes para ayudarte. [ 12735]


Western Slope Neighborhood Organizer Francisca Aleman, among others, has helped innumerous workers with accessing dental and other health services, since the Network started in 2020.


They had told us they were in need of dental care. They were going to get into contact with River Valley for the discount agricultural worker card as they don't have insurance. I went to check up on how they were doing and if they were able to get the process started. They needed some help so I got in contact with River Valley. [September 2022, West, 21593]


Southeast Neighborhood Organizer Linda Timmins, who has been part of the team since the Network began in 2020, has heard more stories than we can count. Her work is praised by the workers and families.


Algunas familias tenían la preocupación de no poder trabajar porque los nenes están fuera de la escuela. Gracias al programa La escuelita para personas migrantes pudimos inscribir a sus nenes en la escuela para que vayan a trabajar al campo. Otras familias tomaron la oportunidad de dejar a sus bebés en la escuelita para poder ir a trabajar por primera vez. "Muchas gracias Linda ahora si voy a poder ir ayudar a mi esposo en la labor y para poder juntar un poco más dinero." Palabras de una madre que por primera vez pudo encontrar escuela para nenes más chicos. [17420]


Southeast Neighborhood Organizer Ana Chacon, who has been part of the team since the Network began in 2020, is well known among the agricultural community and often provides important knowledge about how to handle medical expenses.


Aparte de poner y hacer llamadas para poner la cita de dentista para un trabajador de Di Santi. También fuimos por él, le ayudamos en el proceso y después lo llevamos a su casa. Este trabajador tenía dolor en un diente de tiempo atrás pero no quería asistir al dentista por miedo de que le fueran a cobrar mucho. Hasta que el diente no se le pudrió y cayó nos comentó y nosotras le dijimos que para eso habíamos ido anteriormente a llenar la solicitud para la tarjeta de descuento médica. Así es como se animó a ir. El dentista por un momento lo desanimó porque dijo que el trabajo costaría $250 por ponerle corona. El chico no traia mas que 100 dólares. Hubo un momento que ya se quería regresar a la casa pero la secretaria habló con nosotros y le descontó 100 dollars y se lo dejo en pagos para que pudiera hacerse el trabajo. [19333]


Southeast Neighborhood Organizer Veronica Castillo, a mother of another Promotora and team member since June 2021, is always helping workers with rides, hair cuts, basic needs, and just a listening ear to validate their humanity and dignity.


Transportation to and from grocery stores or doctors is very hard for people a lot of the time. If they do not have a ride they have to walk to Walmart to pick up their groceries or walk sick to the doctors to get checked and medication transportation is hard to come by. These women are always very thankful. They always tell me that they are very happy and feel safe because I am a woman helping them. It is comforting to them. [17429]


San Luis Valley Neighborhood Organizer Jose de Jesus Flores Moreno, who began working with his team in August 2022, already had deep roots in the agricultural community. When he was delivering food to a recently unemployed Mushroom Farm worker, the worker told him,


“Thank you very much, food is very expensive, they cut our SNAP benefits, and it is harder than usual to buy the same amount of food nowadays. I have been using unemployment benefits and I am almost up - so I will need to find a job.[22152]


San Luis Valley Neighborhood Organizer Maria Villagomez, a dedicated employee of the SLV school system, started with the team in 2020. Much of her work involved communicating with the parents of students about resources they could access, most of whom work in agriculture.


Two families who are staying in one home together were not sure about exposure of the new [COVID] variant for the child or risk to other family members. Both families living together got ill with the new variant, and were low income families. I was able to communicate with the family [and] was able to connect with Rainbow Thrift store Food bank regarding deliveries of their food boxes. Rainbow is always dependable and delivers for us in an instant. [8987]


San Luis Valley Neighborhood Organizer Pantaleon Villagomez, who started with the Network in 2020, offered such a diversity of assistance to his community. Even the smallest action, such as downloading an app on a phone, made a big impact on public health and wellbeing.


They don’t know where to look for dates and places for the vaccine and they don’t like calling the clinic because it’s too hard to go through all the commands on the phone. They heard from other friends that they can download an app to see where the mobile bus is and where to go. They called me to get the app on their phone. “Gracias ahora sé que puedo llevar a mis familiares por la vacuna y se que solo necesito buscar mi área .[12782]


North 3 Neighborhood Organizer Rosie Castro, started her work with the network from the beginning in 2020. She’s resourceful and often found a variety of household items and basic needs for migrant families who arrive with only a few belongings.


Parents are in need of baby formula and diapers, more food boxes. Asked for help in finding a baby crib and car seat. In need of a food box with milk products. I was able to find them a crib and car seat that was donated by a family. They were very thankful for finding baby items for them and helping out. [17348]


North 3 Neighborhood Organizer Maria Bencomo, a recent addition to the team in August 2022, moved with community needs, be it food pantry items, a wedding celebration, or a doctor's appointment.


Matrimonio joven la mujer recién tuvo un bebé fue por cesárea y no tiene seguro médico y está teniendo problemas para que cierre la cirugía y está batallando para encontrar un Doctor.	Doyles números de Clínicas que ofrecen descuentos para que ellos hablen. [22433]


North 3 Neighborhood Organizer Marcela Natividad, who was an original team member back in 2020, has heard innumerous stories and the community trusts her with their important information and documents.


El padre de esta familia me pidió ayuda para llenar unos documentos pues donde viven tienen nuevo propietario y les están pidiendo información extra y también les hice la traducción de la carta que mandaron con las nuevas reglas de los nuevos propietarios. Todo muy bien llenamos las hojas y me comentó que en su trabajo pidió que lo cambiaran a otra área donde le pagaran un poco más y si se lo dieron por lo que está muy contento. [ July 2022, N3, 18329]


North 3 Neighborhood Organizer Maria de Lourdes Guerrero joined the Network in April 2022. Since then she has learned to speak for the community and how to help people feel loved and at home here.


Aprendí que cuando llega a este país con la esperanza puesta en un trabajo para ayudar a la familia debe saber sus derechos y beneficios de trabajador. La atención que puso al escuchar que aquí también cuenta que no solo es una persona más. Hubo agradecimiento por hacerle saber que su trabajo es importante y también por la información. [16790]


North 2 Neighborhood Organizer Dorothy Meza, who joined the team in April 2022, was always there when she was needed, offering rides, handling difficult phone calls, and offering help with various health resources.


Dorothy called her and connected with La Señora and told to answer her phone because Rocky Mountain SER was going to call her. La señora tiene 65 años y no sabe sus derechos, tampoco quería levantar una denuncia legal pues no le pagaron ni indemnización por su accidente- caída que ocurrió mientras picaba cebolla. La sra no tiene ingresos y su hija trabaja todo el día y tiene un nieto. La señora tuvo una caída en su trabajo hace más de un mes, no podía caminar y no pidió ayuda al patrón por miedo a ser despedida. Ella no sabe leer ni escribir, es residente legal. Aunque aún no se recuperó de la caída y apenas puede caminar regresó a los filles para seguir trabajando y conseguir dinero para su renta. Nuestra community organizer la visitó ayer después de que ella no contestaba el teléfono por varios días. La señora tenía vómito y fiebre y fue llevada por nuestra compañera al hospital. Se quedó internada por una 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, que la sra tiene que pagar el bill por hospitalización y oxígeno. Salió del hospital al día siguiente y fue llevada a casa por la sra Dorothy. Fue una bendición que la sra Dorothy llegara a visitarla y la llevara al hospital y también la recogiera y dejara en casa. [11419]


North 2 Neighborhood Organizer Tommy Rodriguez, who recently moved into a full Promotora role, has been with the Network since 2020. Tommy is a whole phonebook of social network by herself and has trained and shared resources with many new hires over the years. We are luck to have her as a leader in the Network.


Son dos personas encargadas de la lechería Sugar Hill Dairy, solicitaron ayuda con el contrato para tramitar licencias marcadas, se les paso el contacto el mismo día de la visita, gracias a que Soraya un Tommy contratan con la mi formación inmediata.	Visitar en conjunto con la organizadora Tommy el lugar de trabajo, platicar con ellos, además de actualizar sus números de contacto. [14582]


North 1 Neighborhood Organizer Lucia Olivas has been with the Network since November 2020 and a queen of multitasking, research, and following up with information so that people do not fall through the cracks.


Hablé con 3 personas que necesitaran diferentes recursos. Una señora necesita información para clases de inglés y en como recibir las tarjetas de comida EBT que ofrece la escuela. Otra señora quería saber el sitio de vacuna covid. Y otra señora le gustaría saber dónde puede llevar a sus hijos a hacerse el examen de la vista y del dentista, porque sus hijos no tienen seguro médico, ni seguro social. Les dije que les ayudaría a investigar la información para responder sus preguntas. [8874]


North 1 Neighborhood Organizer Martha Valasco, who started with the Network in 2020, remained dedicated to serving the immediate needs of the community, from picking up donations to delivering in-person services.


Hoy también nos trajo nuestra compañera Martha, una donación de almohadas del Hotel Marriot de Denver, y fueron de gran ayuda para los trabajadores que tienen una semana que llegaron por primera vez a EE.UU. a trabajar en el campo. No tienen cama, pero al menos tendrán almohadas muy buenas, comentaron ellos. [18325]



This report was prepared by Kassandra Neiss, with contributions from Miriam Aleman, Maria Refugio, Francisca Aleman, Linda Timmins, Ana Chacon, Veronica Castillo, Jose de Jesus Flores Moreno, Maria Villagomez, Pantaleon Villagomez, Rosie Castro, Maria Bencomo, Marcela Natividad, Maria de Lourdes Guerrero, Dorothy Meza, Tommy Rodriguez, Lucia Olivas, and Martha Valasco.


December 15, 2022

For more information, please contact:

Kassandra Neiss

Data Activist and Systems Manager | Frontline Farming

Kasey@FrontLineFarming.org


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