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DHS employees personally donate to help migrant appreciation picnic

Posted on 09/01/2017
DHS employees personally donate to help migrant appreciation picnic

Weld County Department of Human Services (DHS) held an internal gift card collection drive for the 29th Annual Migrant Appreciation Picnic, which took place on Sunday, August 27. Bolstered by friendly competition, employees personally donated over $1,600 in gift cards for migrant families in Weld County.

According to Olga Ruiz, CO State Monitor Advocate, “This is the largest donation from any one agency that we have received to date. Your generous donations will put a smile on the faces of the farmworkers that are working so hard in extreme conditions to put the food we so love to eat on our tables, while having little for theirs.”

An estimated 400 people attended the picnic, which honored migrant farmworkers and their families. The all-volunteer event served up free food, face painting, live entertainment and over 50 prizes and raffles given to families in need, in addition to the collected gift cards. Many volunteers from DHS and their families joined forces with others from participating agencies, community programs and local farmers to put together a truly remarkable event.

Claudia Cabral, DHS Client Services Technician-Migrant/Seasonal Farm Worker Outreach, played an important role in organizing the picnic and spreading the word to the farmworkers she helps. As part of her job, she provides outreach directly in the agricultural worksites and throughout the community to employers, workers and job seekers to connect them to services, information, support and resources they need. This work is dear to her heart, as she comes from an agricultural background. Because of this, she has worked diligently, even in her personal time, to collect donations throughout the community to help the farmworkers in any way possible. Claudia is truly a hero in the lives of our county’s farmworkers.

Every year, 2.5-3 million farmworkers leave their homes, many of them 11-13 times per year, to follow the crops in search of work. These migrant workers travel throughout the U.S., serving as the backbone for a multi-billion-dollar fruit and vegetable industry, that without their efforts would not be possible to support. Farmworkers’ labor is crucial to the production of a wide variety of crops in Colorado and in the nation, and despite the advances in technology, the agricultural industry continues to depend on hand labor. Migrant farmworkers’ average income is approximately $7,000 less per year than the Federal Poverty Level.