MAGIC VALLEY — After noticing the Hispanic and Latino community were disproportionately affected by the pandemic, The Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance decided to raise a million dollars to help undocumented workers survive the pandemic.
"And so the goal of this group is to provide a response or some type of relief to farm working and immigrant families who need it during the COVID-19 pandemic," Irene Ruiz, Bilingual Community Organizer for the Idaho Organization of Resource Councils, said.
The Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance was formed at the beginning of the pandemic when eight non-profit organizations wanted to create a resource to help undocumented workers.
The organization has raised $160,000 so far, including a $50,000 grant from Justice for Migrant Women, an organization that aims to protect migrant women's rights. They plan to continue to raise more money to reach their $1 million goal to help as many families as possible.
"At the end of the day, this is not just going to be this year. This is something that we're going to have to provide help for in the future, and that's why we're hoping that the Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance will most likely stick around for a while, to provide the support that we can," Ruiz said.
The first round of applications is now being accepted until September 25. Applicants must be agricultural workers or immigrants living in Idaho and going through financial hardship because of the pandemic. Each applicant can ask for a one time $500 fund.
"That's to go to the farmworker community primarily. 70-90%, depending on the region of farmworkers, are undocumented workers who did not receive any stimulus funds. COVID is negatively impacting them, and so we want to make sure we provide them with some relief fund," Irma Morin, CEO of Community Council of Idaho, said.
For those interested in learning more about the relief fund and applying, you can visit their website.