BAKERSFIELD, CALIF. (KERO) — Pandemic relief is coming to farm, grocery, and meatpacking workers in the form of $700,000,000 in grants provided by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA).
The grants are meant to alleviate some of the stress these essential workers were faced with during the pandemic.
Throughout the pandemic farmers and grocery store workers were on the front lines making sure our fridges stayed full but United Farm Worker Foundation Executive Director, Diana Tellefson Torres said that these very groups were left out of pandemic relief packages.
“Long before the pandemic even struck, we knew the occupational risks combined with the isolated nature of the agricultural work and the lack of legal status and just the shameful exclusions from basic labor laws always made farmworkers the most vulnerable employees in America,” said Tellefson-Torres.
Tellefson-Torres said she hopes these grants will finally get workers the help they deserve. This relief is intended to lower costs such as personal protective equipment (PPE), dependent care, and expenses associated with quarantines and testing related to the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The granting from USDA will specifically be funding that is direct cash assistance so it will be up to $600 that a farmworker can apply for this also includes individuals who work in meatpacking”
Still, Tellefson-Torres anticipates that there will be some fear when it comes to applying.
“We know that there’s going to be a lot of potential hesitancy to apply especially, because this government funding. However, this should not involve any public charge this is funding that is specifically pandemic relief it is disaster relief for farmworkers who truly deserve it,” said Tellefson-Torres.
Although the applications are not open, yet the United Farm Worker Foundation wants workers to know that they can text si se puede to 877-877 to get additional details in both English and Spanish.
WHERE TO APPLY FOR THE GRANT: HTTPS://WWW.GRANTS.GOV/
GENERAL INFO FOR THE GRANT: HTTPS://WWW.AMS.USDA.GOV/SERVICES/GRANTS/FFWR
USDA ORIGINAL ARTICLE HTTPS://WWW.USDA.GOV/MEDIA/PRESS-RELEASES/2021/09/07/USDA-INVESTS-700-MILLION-GRANTS-PROVIDE-RELIEF-FARM-AND-FOOD