IMPERIAL — The Imperial Valley Vegetable Growers Association (IVVGA) partnered with Imperial Valley College (IVC), Vo Neighborhood Medical Clinic, and Sun Community Federal Credit Union to host a Farmworker Fall Festival Thursday, Dec. 2.
The health fair style event welcomed community members, farmworkers, and farmworkers’ families to visit the community college campus for health and wellness purposes.
Vo Medical was on site to offer COVID-19 vaccinations — first and second dose, or booster shot of Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, or Pfizer — in addition to health screenings and flu shots.
After vaccinating several thousand farmworkers previously, Vo Neighborhood Program Manager Angie Pena explained the importance of offering the booster and additional medical services.
“It’s really hard for them to make appointments because of the schedules that they have and we’re trying to make it accessible for them,” she said.
“We have the new variant that’s coming out so anybody who was vaccinated probably 5 or 6 months (ago), the vaccine is not as effective,” said Pena. “So, we want to make sure that they have it at their disposal to get the booster.”
Pena explained her gratefulness to the volunteers of Vo Neighborhood and how their efforts have made the vaccination efforts successful.
“The volunteers (at Vo Neighborhood) have been at it, making sure the community gets any kind of medical assistance by providing these clinics, and they all volunteer their time. They’ve been doing it since June of last year and they are going strong,” she said.
Geared toward farmworkers and their families, the appreciation event included IVC’s booths with information for English as a Second Language courses, along with automotive technology and welding technology. Enrollment is currently free at IVC. IVC Administration representatives offered information on how to enroll and helped to advise with classes.
The event also housed booths for Sun Community bank to connect guests and farmworkers with a banking system if they hadn’t previously.
Sun Community Member Experience Manager Melvin Wong said he was glad to attend the event and share information with the community.
“(Farmworkers) offer so much to our community … We’re here to serve our community, and make the community better,” he said.
Wong said Sun Community offers services in English and Spanish to encourage community members to bank with them without feeling as though they don’t have access to financial literacy information due to a language barrier.
“We’ve met with farmers, we’ve met with the labor contractors too, we’ve got to do a better job of actually getting out to the fieldworkers and asking them how we can help serve them,” he said. “We have savings, we have checking, we have credit cards, we have auto loans, and all that stuff, but do they want that? Do they need it?”
“Being such a close community here, you don’t have to go too far to know someone that worked in the fields, it impacts a lot of us,” Wong said.
Guests were encouraged to visit the different informational booths and take advantage of the resources provided after enjoying hotdogs catered by Flash Dogz.