Farmworkers & Immigrant Family Support
Our outreach is focused on two communities:
- Farmworkers in Immokalee, FL
- Local refugee families
Most of our work with the CIW is in the advocacy area. However, in the past, we have had special collections after hurricanes devastated farms workers’ trailer housing in SW Florida. Recently — several members made 240 face masks for the farmworkers, and we sent funds to help those who are quarantined and have no income.
Since early 2019 we have supported Congolese refugee families — the first three and now two as one family relocated to Ohio to be close to their extended family.
One family arrived in St. Pete after 10 years in a refugee camp in Uganda. They came from an agrarian area in the NE of the Democratic Republic of the Congo. That family now consists of a young mother, father, grandmother, and four adorable children. The oldest two are in 1st and 3rd grades and the other two are toddlers.
The second household had lived in the capital, Kinshasa, and due to a coup fled to Brazzaville in the neighboring Republic of the Congo. As the mother and her four children waited for approval to emigrate to the US, her extended family brought three children to Lille, France, where they had relocated. The mother and her middle school-aged daughter came to St Pete in December 2015. That child just graduated from St. Pete High. After many papers and several submissions to the US Customs and Immigration Service — the other three children emigrated to St Pete from France in the winter and spring of 2019 after a 7-years of separation.
Both families have made many changes and adapted very well to their new homes. They took part in schooling to learn English, and the three parents have jobs. In addition to working — one of the adults is attending St. Pete College, and her newly graduated daughter is now registering there for the fall semester.
At this point, these families need an occasional helping hand with food, interfacing with the school system, emotional support during these trying times, obtaining medical insurance, and/or expenses associated with the processing of their immigration paperwork.
One of our committee members also organized the pick-up of free breakfast and lunch from Pinellas County schools for all of the Congolese refugee families living in the James Park housing area.
Our committee usually meets monthly on the second Monday at 5:00 pm. Due to the pandemic, we are now checking in via Zoom on a biweekly basis. We plan events and projects and assess the progress of our work. Join us and make a difference. All are welcome. For Zoom, info contact Karen Coale.