New Businesses publish your DBA
Publish a New Change easily
Place a Classified in Tri-County Sentry
Carry Out & Delivery Directory
By Chris Frost
Oxnard—The Oxnard Recreation and Community Services Division partnered with local organizations and hosted a food distribution event, Nov. 8.
The College Park distribution brought out a crowd of community members who provided free pantry items and fresh produce to a giant-sized crowd.
Oxnard partnered with the United Farm Workers Foundation, the United Way, the Saba Charitable Foundation, Si Se Puede, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, Teamsters Local 186, and the Miguel Contreras Foundation to make it happen.
Attendees received dry goods, tuna, produce, and diapers, among other items.
Oxnard Recreation Supervisor Jessy Tapia said the groups all came together to provide city residents with 1,500 boxes of food.
Volunteers pre-registered cars, he said, to make sure they got the food they need.
"We hope it's enough," he said. "We'll be back tomorrow with Food Share Ventura County. Whenever we have a chance to provide to the community, we want to make sure that we're there for them. The need has continued throughout the whole pandemic, and we need to support our community any way we can."
Labor Community Services of Los Angeles Executive Director Armando Olivas said the need hasn't changed, so they continue to make a difference.
"As you can see from the line of cars we have, people still need food and help with utilities and rent," he said. "We came out here to help the farmworkers and their members, as well as the Teamsters and the community of Oxnard. That's why we're here to help."
The College Park distribution was their 68th Food Distribution event, and the effort fed over 98,000 families throughout Los Angeles and Ventura counties.
"This is all funded by labor," he said. "We have a website. It's lcs-la.org, and there's a place people can donate and find out where we're going to be next, and they can come out and give food. The holidays are here, and we are making sure that people are getting food for Thanksgiving and the Christmas holidays."
The group is looking to expand into Fresno County.
"Wherever we get the call, we'll come out and help them," Olivas said. "We appreciate the City of Oxnard inviting us here, along with Farmworkers and the Teamsters. We're going to feed this community until the end of the pandemic and beyond."
United Farmworkers of America Organizing Director Roman Pinal said the farmworkers have always built coalitions.
"That's how Cesar Chavez won pesticide protections, minimum wages and bathrooms and water in the fields," Pinal said. "When farmworkers and community allies come together, that's how farmworkers can progress. We recently won overtime, so farmworkers are finally going to get equal treatment under the overtime laws. Our organization is one of the facilitative organizations here. There are several members here helping to distribute."
Pinal said members work at farms with a reduced harvest.
"There are farms that specialize in products that go to restaurants," he said. "Restaurant capacity has been diminished because of the pandemic, and sales have gone down. "Workers who work at those farms, if you harvest cilantro, radishes, and those kinds of products in Ventura County, you're probably working 20-25 hours a week right now because of the diminished restaurant sales. Many of those workers are here in line receiving aid today that comes directly from the Los Angeles Community Service Program, the non-profit wing of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor. We've had a long, historical relationship with the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor."
The Miguel Contreras Foundation provided boxes at the event.
"Miguel Contreras personally brought food aid when the Picked Sweet workers were on strike and boycotting here at the mushroom farm in Ventura County," Pinal said. "That goes back to the early 2000s. We're proud to host them in our community. Many farmworkers, construction workers, and other workers are benefitting because of the pandemic. This is an event open to anybody."
He hates to see farmworkers struggle to make ends meet and pointed out a raspberry worker named "Luz" who works at Driscoll Raspberries.
"She was telling me that she's behind on her rent, she's worried about being evicted, and yet, she's here volunteering today helping her co-workers and her community," he said. "She is going to benefit today, but she is giving her time with her husband. We see the effects of the Covid-19 pandemic first-hand."
Pinal said Luz would call him on Nov. 9 and look into her rent issue. There is currently a moratorium on evictions in California.
"The laws in the books are not the same as the laws in the fields," he said. "We're going to dive into that and establish exactly what Ventura County provides for essential workers like Luz. I hope there is some kind of protection for her. Right now, her landlord is breathing down her neck, saying pay up."
Pinal said traditionally, farmworkers always get preyed upon.
"Cesar Chavez used to talk about how door-to-door vacuum cleaner salesmen used to come and charge farmworkers three to four times as much for a vacuum cleaner you can buy at Sears Department store," he said. "Farmworkers have always been preyed upon, whether they protected or not protected. I'm going to help her understand what's going on in terms of her legal protections and guide her in terms of how she can support herself and her family."
He loves seeing the Teamsters and Farmworkers come together.
"When people come together, our community is stronger, and everybody benefits," he said. "We're able to change laws and change presidents by working together."