FRESNO COUNTY, Calif. (KFSN) — The Tulare-Kings and Fresno county non-profit, Proteus Inc., says the Covid federal relief funding is long-overdue.
But they are happy to give out millions of dollars to locals in need and those who might’ve been overlooked during the pandemic.
As of Wednesday morning the non-profit had served 2,624 applications, a busy day, like usual, at their Visalia location.
They are working to distribute six million dollars in federal funding, to farmworkers impacted by Covid-19.
Daniel Ramirez is the non profit’s farmworker program director.
He is thankful that after these last two years some funding is available for agricultural workers regardless of legal status.
“This is a program that is way overdue. It’s something that is very needed in our farmworker community. A lot of farmworkers were impacted by having less hours,” says Daniel.
Regina Cruz is one example.
She saw less hours working in a packing house during the pandemic and never received help.
She’s emotional as she picks up her $600 stimulus check.
“I feel really really fortunate, I am very emotional right now because I have never received any type of help or assistance before and to be able to receive this $600, it’s half of my rent, because i pay $1,000 in rent so i am very emotional and very happy to have received this,” Regina mentions.
Proteus received the funding from La Cooperativa, who was one of 15 organizations nationwide selected to disperse over $660 million by the US Department of Agriculture.
The funding will help many., but the non-profit says it still may not be enough.
“Hopefully we will receive more money. We have been getting an average of several hundred calls a day and we have already filled our 10,060 appointments out of 8 offices,” explains Daniel.
Proteus says the need is so large, at one point their phone system stopped working because of so many calls.
They are hopeful another round of funds comes through.
So far Proteus has booked all their openings for the funding.
The United Farm Workers Foundation still has funding available and are processing applications. Their contact information is here.
To apply you need a Photo ID, a pay stub that shows you worked in the fields in 2020, and fill out a one page application.
The full list of organizations who received funding can be found here.