Non-profit organization Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance is working to provide local farmworkers access to needed resources through a winter relief fund and drive.
Agricultural work is a year-round occupation and IIRA co-founder Samantha Guerrero said farmworkers lack basic protections.
“It’s time that we increase our efforts to provide resources to our farmworkers because they are essential, but they are also suffering,” Guerrero said.
While working in spaces like food processing plans or fields, agricultural workers face freezing winter weather conditions. Guerrero said there are farmworkers across the state getting burned by how cold it is.
In Idaho, many farmers utilize the H-2A temporary agricultural program, a program that allows farmers to employ workers from other countries to work agricultural jobs in the U.S.
Guerrero said H-2A workers can experience different work conditions compared to domestic farmworkers and without farmworkers, the industry would not thrive.
“For us, it’s very essential that we are helping to meet their needs because many come here from other countries, they don’t know what to expect,” Guerrero said. “They don’t know what the climate in Idaho is like. What we’ve heard is people showing up to work in processing facilities during February and they don’t have warm clothes.”
During these cold winter months, IIRA founder Irene Ruiz said items like leather or insulated gloves, winter coats and wool socks are the most needed.
“I had a chance to speak to another farmworker and she said a lot of people lack a lot of these basic clothing needs for any type of season, so she said they would welcome that and would be so happy to have those things,” Ruiz said.
Donation drop off locations include:
- Community Council of Idaho, 317 Happy Day BLVD Ste. 180 Caldwell, ID 83607
- Immigrant Justice Idaho, 3775 W Cassia St. Boise, ID 83705
- Idaho Commission on Hispanic Affairs, 2399 S. Ste. 102 Boise, ID 83705
Ruiz said the alliance will start preparing for the heat relief fund soon.