San Jose nonprofit helps stuff stockings for children of farmworkers

Amanda del Castillo Image
Thursday, December 8, 2022
SJ non-profit helps stuff stockings for children of farmworkers
San Jose non-profit, Farmworker Caravan, is bringing holiday joy to the kids of farmworkers, a group that oftentimes goes forgotten.

SAN JOSE, Calif. (KGO) -- The Farmworker Caravan, a nonprofit based in San Jose, is putting out a call to the community to help get stuffed stockings into the hands of kids of farmworkers.

On Tuesday, ABC7 News viewed stockings stuffed to the brim and wrapped in plastic - early donations dropped off at Washington United Youth Center in San Jose.

"We do a Christmas stocking drive called Christmas Con Cariño, which is Christmas with love," Darlene Tenes with the Farmworker Caravan said. She leads the effort.

"There's not a single person in America that does not benefit from a farmworker," Tenes told ABC7 News.

MORE: Season of Giving: Where to donate this holiday season

Tenes said the Farmworker Caravan provides emergency supplies to a group that is often forgotten. During the holiday season, the caravan shifts focus to the kids of those farmworkers - from toddlers to 17 year olds.

Tenes launched the effort in 2020, collecting more than 7,000 stuffed stockings then. However, supply chain issues impacted 2021 numbers.

This year, she's hoping to have at least 6,000 stockings to give out.

"We have about 400 to 500,000 farmworkers in the state of California at any given time. So, even though we're saying 6,000 to 7,000 stockings, that's just a miniscule amount of what we're just doing in our local area," Tenes described.

She credits the many groups and individuals who come together to make this happen. The effort puts the packages into the hands of children of ag workers across Half Moon Bay, Watsonville, Salinas, Hollister, Monterey and elsewhere. It's the reason why donation drop-off locations span the region, from Monterey to San Mateo Counties.

"The stockings means everything to them," Lonise Iese, a Case Manager at Catholic Charities described. "And their faces and the smiles that we bring to them... it warms my heart because that's just truly what I feel Christmas is about."

What many might see as a simple stocking, is something cherished by children who may otherwise not receive much.

And for Tenes, it's a token of appreciation for the farmworkers who provide for not only their own families but everyone's.

"They talk about how much love they put into the work they do. And that love is going to your dinner table," she said. "So everybody who's out there eating, that came from a farmworker."

For information on how to donate, drop-off locations, and organizations involved in Christmas Con Cariño, click here.

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