Idaho organization collects supplies for farm workers to beat summer heat and smoke

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Earlier this month, the Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance announced it would hold its second annual Heat and Smoke Relief Fund to raise supplies to help Idaho farmworkers resist the extreme heat and smoke in the summer.

With drop-off points throughout Treasure Valley, the resource alliance is appealing for donations of items that can reduce the risk of heat exposure and smoke inhalation. This includes bottled water, Gatorade and sports drinks, coolers, ice packs, bandanas, masks and sunscreen.

This year, the alliance will expand its distribution of items to farm workers in northern Idaho in addition to southern Idaho.

While Idaho Oregon neighbors and Washington provide heat and air quality protections for farm workers, Idaho does not share similar requirements that protect farm workers from intense heat and poor air quality conditions. Some of those requirements in neighboring states require employers to include paid breaks, N95 masks for poor air quality, access to shade, and enough water.

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In an interview with resource alliance executive Irene Ruiz, she said that with the lack of shade in the fields, Idaho farmworkers have to rely on what they have to protect themselves by clothes, water and sunscreen.

“I am a former farm worker. I worked in the fields for about 12 years, from when I was a kid until my early twenties. I know what it’s like to train in the heat and in the smoke. Farm workers work with extreme heat, contaminated water, air pollution and wildfires,” Ruiz said.

Ruiz said the Heat and Smoke Relief Fund is an effort to make farmworkers feel seen.

“These are the people who put food on our tables,” Ruiz said. “We need to make sure that we protect agricultural workers and see them as human beings and respect them through policies or funds like these.”

how to help

The Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance collects monetary and item donations throughout the summer. Monetary donations can be made by mail to 910 W. Main St. Ste. 316 Boise, ID 83704.

Item drop-off locations are at the following locations:

treasure valley

Idaho Community Council
317, boul. Happy Day Suite 180, Caldwell
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Immigrant Justice Idaho
3775 Cassia Street West, Boise
Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.

Intermountain Fair Housing Council
4696 W. Overland Road, Ste. 140, Wooded
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Thursday

magic valley

Idaho Community Council
1139 Falls Ave. East Ste, B, Twin Falls
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday

Idaho Community Council
437 E. 13th St. Burley
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday

Southeast Idaho

Idaho Community Council
1349 Holmes Ave. Idaho Falls
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday

Idaho Community Council
745 W. Bridge St. Ste. H Blackfoot
Hours: 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday

northern idaho

University of Idaho CAMP
865 W. Seventh St. Moscow
Hours: 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday to Friday

About the Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance

The Idaho Immigrant Resource Alliance is an organization of 11 nonprofits in Idaho. Its mission is toseek to provide relief and resources to our Idaho communities by working together by creating a new support system model.Some of its partners include the Community Council of Idaho, ACLU Idaho, Immigrant Justice Idaho, the Northwest Center for Alternatives to Pesticides, Housing Justice for All, and United Farm Workers, among others.

The the covenant has begun its efforts in 2020. Initially, the organization was heavily focused on supporting the Latinx immigrant community at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. Since then, organizers have expanded their reach to help provide resources to Idaho’s farmworker community.

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