Organizations come together to feed farm workers of Tampa Bay amid coronavirus pandemic

Hillsborough County

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Many folks in the Tampa Bay area and throughout the country continue to work through the fear of coronavirus. Several local groups have now come together to help feed the families that work to feed ours.

Agriculture is considered essential. A lot of farms are losing business as restaurants close down and the workers that are out here picking fruits and vegetables are in need as they now work only part-time.

Farming is hard work that includes long days in the sun, bent over, weeding and tending jalapenos plants. The workers are wearing masks; advised by the farmer to protect themselves and the crop from coronavirus.

“They’re worried. They’re not protected. They don’t know if they’re going to be contaminated,” said Valeska Jones with the Sunshine Family Medical and Wellness Center.

Right now, the mostly Mexican immigrants are working reduced hours; grateful to have some work while much of the country shuts down.

“A lot of them don’t qualify for the benefits that are going to be coming in,” said Lisandra Roman, owner of the Lechonera el Jibarito restaurant.

Walking in from the fields, they line up and find help in the form of bags of groceries, toiletries and other aid.

“Everybody’s chipping in. Different organizations are chipping in and getting together to feed. Nobody should be going hungry in the United States,” said Roman.

The restaurant owner is shut down because of the stay at home order. Roman brings her boys to help feed those who provide food to her restaurant.

“We’re blessed to bless,” said Roman.

Teaming up with Arbol Colectivo and Boricuas de Corazon some joy is brought as Mariachis Internacional de Tapatio sing songs from Mexico.

“They’re the ones that put food on our tables. So if they’re good, we’re good,” said Jones.

Several of the organizations that came out are hoping to continue to help the workers as long as they need it. 8 On Your Side’s Marco Villarreal also spoke with the owner of this farm. He’s hoping things will get busier as more produce is available and ready for picking.


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