“Underground food distributions, direct financial assistance, and postings on WhatsApp are some of the ways food banks are reaching out to undocumented clients, a population that has been particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis.
The efforts are designed to combat the chilling effects of the current administration’s immigration policies, which seek to make it harder for immigrants who are not wealthy to gain permanent residence. They go above and beyond more common ways of accommodating the undocumented, such as not asking people about their migration status during food distributions.”
Undocumented clients are especially vulnerable these days because they don’t qualify for the unemployment benefits that other out-of-work people are able to receive. They also fear coming into contact with U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers during distributions or endangering their migration status by applying for SNAP.
It all adds up to a limited ability to access resources among a population that needs them the most. “I was surprised at how many more families were in need,” said Rosario Valerio, Senior Manager of Nutrition Programs at Second Harvest Food Bank of Santa Cruz County. “I was not aware of how scared they were. That was a shock for me.”
Valerio helps oversee the food bank’s underground food distribution program, run in conjunction with the Center for Farmworker Families, a nonprofit dedicated to advocating for and supporting farmworkers and their families, mostly from Mexico.”
View the whole story here: https://thecounter.org/stealth-food-banks-undocumented-immigrants-coronavirus-covid-19/