MECCA, Calif. (CBSLA) — A temporary shelter for migrant farmworkers is now open in the Coachella Valley, and organizers are hoping it becomes a yearly event.
The Guadalupe Shelter is located at the Galilee Center in the city of Mecca near the Salton Sea. The nonprofit provides food and services for local, underprivileged families.
The shelter will remain open through the end of the grape harvesting season in July 2018, and currently offers 150 beds for seasonal producer pickers living in the area. Galilee hopes to open the shelter every year.
The project was made possible through a $200,000 contribution from local philanthropist Mary Ingebrand-Pohlad. Father Howard Lincoln of nearby Sacred Heart Parish in Palm Desert also gave $50,000 for hiring staff and supplies.
“We are very excited and blessed to receive these donations, which will provide so much needed shelter for the homeless farmworker men and women in the eastern Coachella Valley,” said Gloria Gomez, the Galilee Center’s president and founder.
“Think about who are the poorest of the poor,” Gomez says in a video on Galilee’s website. “[Farmworkers] want to work. They’re not asking for a free thing.”
Ingebrand-Pohlad told The Desert Sun that she felt compelled to do something for the farmworkers, many of whom sleep in their cars and in parking lots, after she read a story in the paper about their plight.
The extreme, high desert heat this summer made work much harder for farmworkers, who had to deal with temperatures well over 100 degrees.