FRESNO, Calif. — California Gov. Gavin Newsom issued Executive Order N-33-20 last month, declaring a state of emergency ordering all individuals living in the State of California to stay home “except as needed to maintain continuity of operations of the federal critical infrastructure sectors.”
Agriculture is considered one of the 16 critical infrastructure sectors, with agricultural workers critical to keeping our daily lives functioning. The hardworking members of the Central Valley who work in the fields, packing houses, processing plants, dairies, animal farms, and other supporting industries make up this critical infrastructure.
Unified super lightweight world champion Jose Ramirez and his team are partnering with area farmers, packing houses, farm labor contractors, Dr. Juan Bautista and Dr. Ignacio Guzman, County Supervisor Richard Valle, Nisei Farmers League, Waste Management, Fresno State, Super Mercado, and Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino to provide these unsung heroes with appreciation boxes that include essential household items such as toilet paper, facial tissue, detergent, cleaning supplies, other non-perishable items, and preventative health items and educational information.
Ramirez and his team have committed to a minimum of 1,000 boxes and have a goal of producing at least 5,000 boxes. In addition, 10,000 face masks have been secured for workers and their families.
“Agricultural workers are our neighbors, friends and the glue that holds our communities together. Without their essential work, life would be very difficult during this COVID-19 pandemic. They are at work while stores run out of toilet paper and other essential items,” Ramirez said. “These workers are fighting hard for us night and day to keep food on the shelves. They are risking everything, and we want to fight for them right now and show our support.”
Over the next 14 days, donations will be accepted for the appreciation boxes. Ramirez and others will be giving these boxes to the workers in person to show their appreciation and support. Also included will be a signed picture from Ramirez with a personal note and a pair of free tickets to his next fight in the Central Valley.
“The Central Valley is a special place full of dedicated men and women who are out in the fields helping to sustain Americans through this trying time,” said Top Rank chairman Bob Arum, Ramirez’s promoter. “Jose and community leaders across the Central Valley are rallying together for a wonderful cause.”
If you are a large or small business and wish to join this amazing cause by donating items for the creation of these appreciation boxes, please e-mail Rick Mirigian at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (559) 614-5686.
For monetary donations, a GoFundMe page (Ag Workers Support Fund) has been created by The Bautista Foundation, or they can be given directly to The Bautista Foundation. No gift is too small, and 100 percent of the proceeds will benefit the agricultural workers risking their health during the COVID-19 pandemic.