Mulberry grassroots church helps migrant farmworkers left destitute by pandemic

It is a weekly ritual at the First Assembly of God of Mulberry; around noon every Tuesday and Thursday, a dozen volunteers descend on the church's kitchen and start to cook.

They make, and then deliver 300 hot meals to farmworker families who are having an especially hard time financially because of COVID-19.

“There is a lot of people who struggle to get food,” Jannet Garcia, whose mom works in the fields, told FOX 13.

Since restaurants have been closed or only open for take-out during the pandemic, they have not been buying much produce. That means picking work has dried up.

“When there is no work, there is no money to pay the bills, rent mortgage and food,” said Dani Higgins, one of the founders of Called to Serve Farmworkers. Her group co-ordinates the efforts of Polk County churches in their outreach to migrants.

When farmworkers can get work, it may only be for just a few hours rather than an entire day or week.

MORE: Feeding Tampa Bay, RCMA need help to feed migrant families

To make matters more difficult, many farmworkers cannot get a stimulus check or government help because of their status.

First Assembly of God of Mulberry is a grassroots church on a limited budget but every week it is coming up with around $800 to keep the project going.

“We’re going to keep going as long as we can and as long as the need is there,” said Pastor Brian Lane.

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