Generous Donations to Make Farmworker Shelter a Reality
MECCA – Two significant donations will make it possible to fund an emergency shelter for migrant farmworkers, providing relief to the shortage of temporary housing for the eastern Coachella Valley’s agricultural workers.
The Galilee Center, a nonprofit that serves farmworker and low-income families, received a $200,000 gift from Mary Ingebrand-Pohla last week. Upon hearing the news, Father Howard Lincoln pledged $50,000 from Sacred Heart Parish toward the effort.
“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. “We hope this is the beginning of an annual program, where many farmworkers will find relief. We are very grateful to Mary and Fr. Lincoln for their outstanding donation.”
Supervisor V. Manuel Perez met with the Galilee Center and Father Lincoln over the summer to discuss the concept of the center housing a seasonal shelter for migrant farmworkers. Perez worked with the nonprofit’s founders on a plan to operate the shelter, once funds could be raised.
“I greatly admire Gloria Gomez and Claudia Castorena who serve from the heart, in the life changing work that government could not do alone,” said Supervisor V. Manuel Perez. “When they brought a vision to address this need, I had faith they would find a way to make this come true for our farmworker families. These donations are amazing blessings that offer not only a place to sleep, but immense hope to people in need.”
The shelter will be hosted at the Galilee Center’s facility in Mecca, located at 66-101 Hammond Rd. What began as a vacant warehouse has transformed into an enormous community resource. In 2015, the Galilee Center, with funding from the County of Riverside, further renovated a portion of the building into the Mecca Comfort Station, a permanent shower, restroom and laundry facility for farmworkers.
The Galilee Center will utilize the donations to hire staff to run the overnight shelter and purchase the needed supplies to get the shelter open soon.