NAMPA, Idaho — A local organization is honoring an essential workforce that never stopped working despite the risk of COVID-19. The Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance (IIRA) has dedicated a billboard to thank Treasure Valleys's farmworkers and immigrant communities.
Drivers on Caldwell boulevard in Nampa will see a billboard with an image of two local farmworkers and bold letters 'Gracias a Nuestros Trabajadores Esenciales' meaning thank you to our essential workers.
"To be able to thank all our farmworkers for all the work they’ve been doing in this community during the pandemic. They’re one of the few groups that have not to stop working, unlike everyone else that were able to work from home or didn’t have to go into their office," Irene Ruiz said with IIRA. "As a field worker, you do have to be out there in the field, when you don't work you don't get paid."
Ruiz herself is a former farmworker. She spent about 10 years in different agricultural fields throughout the Magic Valley, so she understands the conditions some farmworkers might go through.
“It’s hard labor and doing this is such a huge thing for the community to see and for us to be grateful for," Ruiz said.
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IIRA is made up of nine nonprofits. It was created to address the COVID-19 pandemic and provide resources to immigrant and farm working communities. In August, the organization posted on Facebook that it was able to raise about $11,000 for the Heat and Smoke Farm Worker Relief Fund.
They hope the billboard will serve as a reminder to support this essential workforce and to take care of one another as the COVID-19 surges throughout the valley.
“One of the phrases we did want to add on is 'El Esfuerzo Vale la Pena', which means your effort is worth it. We really wanted to add that on the billboard because we wanted to let people know that every little thing we do during this pandemic, wearing a mask, getting vaccinated, helping each other it counts and it matters to protect ourselves and protect the community from COVID," Ruiz said.