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In Santa Cruz, a Clandestine Food Bank Draws Hundreds of Farmworkers []


By Erica Hellerstein, Cal Matters, August 24, 2019

All eyes follow the white van as it rolls into the alley.

More than 100 people — almost all migrant farmworkers from the nearby agricultural fields of Santa Cruz County — line up along a shaded edge of the street, tucked off a long road dotted with modest houses and neat lawns. Some lean on grocery carts, waiting for the delivery of boxes loaded with colorful sacks of carrots, potatoes, cabbage and onions, bundles of rice and beans, boxes of grapes, shampoo, toilet paper and laundry detergent. The arrival of the van means the boxes will be distributed soon.

Here, hidden in plain sight in one of California’s poorest counties, a clandestine operation delivers supplies to people who can’t afford the food they harvest for others and are so worried about immigration enforcement that they are afraid to visit official food banks and sometimes even grocery stores.

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