The Coachella Valley is home to culturally diverse, vibrant populations with unique challenges and needs. Our Hispanic community is at the heart of what our valley represents to natives and visitors alike. Still, these working households are twice as likely as their white counterparts to experience food insecurity.
Many factors contribute to the inequalities in nutrition, including the linguistic and cultural barriers Hispanic and Immigrant communities face to access healthcare and assistance programs. FIND’s goal is to serve all communities equitably with culturally competent health and social services. Every day we come closer to reaching that goal thanks to the hard work and dedication of our CalFresh Outreach Case Management team and Community Health Worker program.
Ana Montano, FIND’s former Community Health Worker, now serving as Program Manager to our new programs.
Ana is a lifelong resident and community advocate of the Coachella Valley. In her role as Community Health Worker or promotores, she assists with benefits applications for food assistance AND connects clients to MediCal, legal assistance, rental and utility assistance, etc. As a trusted community member, she provides a holistic approach to health and financial aid to end hunger for today and gives her clients the additional tools to help end hunger for tomorrow.
Increasing access to healthcare services delivered in native languages with experts that understand the communities’ unique cultural values and expectations is vital to have more positive health outcomes. Community Health Workers serve as the link between social services and the community that needs them, increasing health knowledge and self-sufficiency for her clients.
Guillermina Cano performing outreach for clients waiting in line for food at a CalFresh Resource event at FIND Food Bank
FIND’s Outreach team are experts in navigating benefits applications and referrals that can be confusing, cumbersome, or inaccessible for those who do not know or understand the processes. Ms. Luzisabel has resided in the eastern Coachella Valley for the last year. She immigrated from Cuba and is currently taking English classes to transfer her credentials and utilize her medical degree in the states. She was told by the CA Department of Social Services that there aren’t many programs for Cuban residents, but there may be more opportunities if she obtains a valid social security number. They referred her to FIND’s CalFresh Outreach Worker, Guillermina, for assistance applying for Social Security and her CalFresh application. Ana helped Ms. Luzisabel with general assistance and provided her with referrals to TODEC, a local nonprofit organization that assists with immigration law.
Miriam Arredondo and daughter at a temporary housing site standing behind fresh and non-perishable groceries from FIND Food Bank.
Community Health Workers also step in when clients face emergencies or disasters. Ana met Miriam Arrendo at our distribution in Desert Hot Springs only a few days after tragedy struck her family. Miriam is a single mother to six adolescent children. She visits FIND’s Mobile Markets to help make ends meet for her family. In August, she lost her mobile home in Desert Hot Springs to a fire. Ana took her information in line at the distribution, heard her story, and then connected Miriam to our partner organizations for further assistance.
After Ana conducted a phone appointment with Miriam, FIND Food Bank was able to provide emergency food supplies and diapers for her toddler. Due to their non-citizen immigration status, Ana put her in touch with Lift to Rise, TODEC, and Catholic Charities, who provided additional financial resources and temporary housing in a hotel. Ana relays how grateful Miriam has been for the services and the help she received from FIND to navigate through this difficult time for her family.
FIND’s Outreach team and Community Health Workers do more than provide a service to those facing difficult financial, familial, and health situations, they serve as a beacon of hope in the face of historic and systemic barriers. We’re grateful for their help in increasing access to life-saving resources that will build more just and healthy communities in the desert.
Make an appointment
Set up a phone consultation and schedule an in-person meeting at 760-775-3663 ext 113.