Migrant families connected to resources through Head Start

Annia Royo, Assistant Director of Child Development

Migrant farmworkers form the backbone of American agriculture. They work tirelessly to raise, plant, grow, care for, and harvest food of all types for the nation; however, the transient nature of their work can leave them vulnerable to economic instability, especially during difficult times. The USDA’s Farm and Food Workers Relief Grant Program acknowledged the critical, frontline work that migrant farmworkers performed during the COVID-19 pandemic and offered them financial relief.

Relief payments of $600 were made available to eligible workers who performed farming, meatpacking, and grocery store work between January 27, 2020, when the COVID–19 public health emergency was declared by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), and the declared end of the public health emergency.

Beginning in November 2022, our Migrant and Seasonal Head Start Program joined with other organizations across the country to help administer the Farm and Food Workers Relief Grant Program. Annia Royo, our Assistant Director of Head Start, led the charge for our agency, ensuring that our migrant Head Start families were connected to this opportunity. Staff were able to assist 298 eligible migrant farmworker families to take advantage of the program.

“Migrant and seasonal farmworker families often have to make tough decisions about employment, childcare, and household budgets, so being able to connect them to every resource available is important to us. We want the whole family to thrive and providing opportunities like this helps us to achieve that goal,” said Jessica Coffie, Director of Child Development for the Council.

The critical work that migrant farmworkers do to support America’s agricultural infrastructure deserves culturally relevant access to services. We are a nation built on the contributions of countless individuals from all walks of life. Together, we cultivate a brighter, more inclusive future, where every family, regardless of their background, has the opportunity to thrive and flourish.

Watch our conversations with 2023 Unapologetically Woman nominees Kendriana Price, Director of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion for the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment and Nichole Gwishiri, Women for the Land Southeast Program Manager for the American Farmland Trust.

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