Farm Recovery

Farmworkers earlier this spring prepare to lay drip irrigation tape in a field near Weiser that will be planted to onions.

CALDWELL — Family Medicine Health Center received a grant from the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare to purchase 5,000 cloth face masks for Treasure Valley farmworkers.

Thousands of Idaho agricultural workers, many who are considered “high-risk,” are in desperate need of face masks to help protect themselves and their families from contracting or spreading COVID-19, the health center announced. The grant amounts to $8,750.

The center will distribute the masks in partnership with the Community Council of Idaho at its Caldwell location, 317 Happy Day Blvd., at 9 a.m. Nov. 19.

“I was getting my hair cut one day and a van of (agricultural) workers were dropped off so that they could get their hair cut, only to find that the business requires patrons to wear face masks,” Martha Madero, a community health worker from Family Medicine Health Center, said in a statement. “They were going to go sit on the curb for the next two hours until the van came back to pick them up, but I just so happened to have a box full of cloth face masks in my trunk that I went out to give them.”

The Community Council of Idaho has aimed to provide a variety of assistance to farmworkers during the COVID-19 pandemic, including distributing masks. The organization helped set up a relief fund, “Ayuda Para Nuestras Familias,” or “Help for Our Families,” for undocumented farmworkers who have few other forms of financial relief to recover from the impacts of the pandemic.

“Distributing these face masks to agricultural workers is part of the missions we both stand by, our commitment to providing resources and opportunities in education, housing and healthcare to vulnerable populations of Idaho,” said Irma Morin, CEO of the Community Council of Idaho.

The Community Council of Idaho will distribute the “Ayuda Para Nuestras Familias” relief fund checks to farmworkers this month.

The Family Medicine Health Center, also known as Family Medicine Residency of Idaho, is a nonprofit that trains physicians in residency programs and serves vulnerable populations at nine Treasure Valley clinics.