Salvador told his mom his idea: he wanted to make 500 masks for farmworkers.
LUPE launched the Dando La Mano immigrant relief fund as a way of lending a hand to immigrant workers of the South Texas borderlands that were left out of COVID19 relief. When 16-year-old Salvador Guadarrama learned that farmworkers were toiling in the fields during the pandemic without adequate protections, he knew he needed to find his own way of dando la mano.
After watching videos on YouTube about the conditions farmworkers face, the East Texas teen decided that he would make protective masks to give to farmworkers.
Salvador told his mom his idea: he wanted to make 500 masks for farmworkers. His mom said they didn’t have a sewing machine and she didn’t know how to sew masks. Salvador did not give up. Eventually, he convinced his mom. They bought a sewing machine and learned to make masks by watching YouTube videos.
Both Salvador and his mom started sewing masks day and night. They soon realized they couldn’t do it alone.
His mom used Facebook to recruit friends to the cause. Soon, in homes spread out across the Houston area, busy hands cut and ironed cloth, while Salvador and his mom helmed the sewing machine. This social distancing assembly line reached Salvador’s goal of 500 face masks for farmworkers.
This week, Salvador and his mom traveled to the Rio Grande Valley border region to meet up with LUPE members and distribute half of the masks to farmworkers clipping onion and harvesting watermelon here. The other half will be mailed to farmworkers in California.
Each of us depends on the essential labor of farmworkers who feed the nation. Yet Congress left them out of COVID19 relief because of their immigration status. It is up to everyday people to defend the health and well-being of farmworkers.
Salvador and his mother are defending farmworkers by delivering masks to the fields. You can take action with Salvador right now by donating to LUPE’s Dando la Mano Fund.
Esther Rojas, a farmworker who received one of Salvador’s masks, told The Monitor newspaper that the coronavirus and shelter-at-home orders made it hard to put food on the table.
Some days, there was no work at all, and other days, the hours were cut short. “Right now, with these days that just passed with this illness, we also suffered because we don’t get any help from the government,” she said. “We have to figure out how we’re going to eat and pay for our bills.”
That is why LUPE is raising and distributing emergency aid through our Dando la Mano Fund. Our goal is to raise $100,000 for families in “el Valle” whose heroic work ensures we can stay home and eat fresh fruits and vegetables.