Many families were saved from homelessness and hunger amid pandemic thanks to this group’s program

Hundreds of Latino-based non-profit organizations in dozens of states were able to better assist already-vulnerable communities amid the novel coronavirus, thanks to a grant system from a leading non-governmental organization that also worked steadily to help Puerto Rico recover from Hurricanes Irma and Maria.

Hispanic Federation (HF) has dispersed more than $20 million in grants to more than 350 non-profits since April 2020, helping “deliver emergency services, including food and housing assistance and healthcare, to some of the most overlooked and vulnerable communities during times of crisis,” the agency said in a report released this week.

NBC News reports that among the organizations that received a grant was Florida’s non-profit, non-sectarian Redlands Christian Migrant Association, which serves many children from farmworker families. “The $85,000 grant from the Hispanic Federation was for Covid vaccination efforts, rental and utility assistance, and educational programs,” which ultimately aided about 200 families.

“Most of the families and farmworkers are the ones that are always the last and have always been the ones that are forgotten about,” executive director Isabel Garcia told NBC News. Yet many of these parents have been the very essential workers feeding America. “They would get sick and they would not have any other income coming in, because if you don’t want to work in the field, you don’t get paid.” Grants to farmworker-centered organizations also went to groups in California, Illinois, North Carolina, Oregon, and Washington state.

This assistance further prevented homelessness that imminently faced a number of farmworkers and their children. In California, Center for Farmworker Families used its entire grant to provide assistance to ten immigrant farmworker families, HF said. A reminder: even though undocumented farmworkers were deemed “essential” during the pandemic, they were blocked from federal emergency relief. “Other available funds were used to help them obtain food,” HF said.

Food drives were also a lifeline for New Yorkers who themselves worked in the restaurant and food service industries but then lost their jobs or saw reduced wages when the pandemic hit. Funds received by Tacombi Community Kitchen provided nearly 10,000 meals, “delivered several times a week to 400 people through partnerships with eight CBOs in hard-hit Latino and immigrant neighborhoods in Manhattan, The Bronx, Brooklyn, and Queens.” HF said that in Kissimmee, Florida, “the number of area residents facing hunger tripled because of the pandemic.” Claritas House Outreach Ministry was able to disperse more than $25,000 in food assistance to over 2,600 families.

HF president Frankie Miranda said in the report that the organization plans to disperse another $7 million in funds by the end of 2021. “Our grants will continue to help our network of community-based organizations serve the most vulnerable of populations: individuals without health insurance, undocumented and mixed-status families, children and youth, pregnant women, domestic violence survivors, farmworkers, day laborers, and seniors,” he said.

Latinos Progresando founder Luis Gutierrez said in a statement his group’s grant “was the first to arrive and gave us the assurance that we could meet some of our community’s most urgent needs, including doing food and vaccination drives, and providing our most vulnerable residents with cash assistance.” Miranda said in that statement that grant recipients like Latinos Progresando “are the lifelines of our community, and that reality was put on full display during the height of the pandemic.” Click here to read the full report.

Read more at Daily Kos.