Every year, The Center for Farmworker Families hosts several Christmas fiestas at central locations in the Watsonville Oaxacan farmworker communities. During these events, we connect with about 250 farmworker children and their families, providing the children with gifts, a bounce house, food, and music.
We offer the Christmas fiestas because the farmworkers do not earn a living wage while working during the harvest season. During the "off" season, they often have no work or income at all. Many manage to survive on rice, beans and local food bank rations until the following work season. There are absolutely no family resources for Christmas gifts or even for warm winter clothes and shoes for their children. The gifts provided to the farmworker children at the Christmas fiestas are primarily gifts of warm clothing and much needed shoes. These gifts are given within a context of celebration and good food characteristic of the season.
Seventy-five percent of California's farmworkers are undocumented. The great majority were forced off of their small farms in Mexico by U.S. trade policy and came to California under duress so that they and their families could survive. Because they are undocumented, they spend most of their non-working hours hiding in the shadows and hoping that they won't be rounded up, deported, and separated from family members. One of the great benefits of the Christmas farmworker family fiestas is the realization that people on the "outside" of their communities do truly care about them and their well-being.
Generous donors provided monetary support for the events, including the Center for World Networking, and four organizations provided the children's gifts: The Buddhist Community of Santa Cruz County, specifically Bloom of the Present; Companions on the Journey in Palo Alto, Santa Teresa Catholic Church in San Jose, and Jelly Beanz Children's Store. Without this generous support, Center for Farmworker Families could not have provided the children of farmworkers with either the fiestas or the gifts. We are immensely grateful to all of you!!
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