Grants Fund Emergency Supports for Florida Farmworker Families

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Apopka farm family
Farmworker families in Apopka benefit from a food distribution hosted by the Farmworker Association of Florida. (Yesica Ramirez)

Suzanne Potter, Florida News Service

Florida farmworkers are getting some much-needed support thanks to a grant from the Health, Environment, Agriculture, Labor Food Alliance (HEAL).

The grant of more than $4,000 is being used to distribute food, host vaccine clinics, and help families pay their bills.

Neza Xiuhtecutli, general coordinator and executive director of the Farmworkers Association of Florida, said many farmworker families were ineligible for federal assistance during the pandemic, so the need is great.

“We are helping them with direct assistance to help them pay for rent and some of their utilities,” Xiuhtecutli outlined. “We are also helping with buying food and passing it among some of the neediest families.”

The Farmworkers Association of Florida represents 10,000 members, and about 6,000 families have reached out to seek help. The Association’s ongoing COVID-19 response also includes assistance filling out applications for SNAP, Medicaid and unemployment, distribution of personal protective equipment, and COVID-19 education.

Navina Khanna, executive director of the HEAL Food Alliance, said they are giving out $52,000 in rapid-response grants to food justice organizations targeting communities of color.

“We were seeing that to go through a whole funding process is often very, very cumbersome in terms of an application and reporting requirements and things like that,” Khanna noted. “And that by creating a pool of funds and getting that out to our communities, our communities could do what they need to do.”

The grants are designed to be flexible and can be used as needs arise. They have benefited eight grassroots, BIPOC-led organizations across the country.