On another restless night in April as the country was forced to shelter-in-place, Darlene Tenes was scrolling through her social media feed when she spotted a post for a Farmworker Relief Drive the same day in Watsonville, CA. She quickly gathered up a few friends who cleared out their pantries and filled their cars with donations to head to this small agricultural community about one hour outside of Silicon Valley.
“I would hear about all of the essential workers being praised and helped but nobody ever mentioned the farmworkers who are working to feed every single person across America,” said Tenes. “I just wanted to use my skills to help and give them the recognition they deserve.”
California agricultural workers have been ravaged by COVID-19, enduring heat waves and wildfire smoke and have continued to work throughout the pandemic. With her event marketing and management background she jumped into action growing the monthly caravans to nearly 100 vehicles and 3-4 commercial moving trucks filled with household goods and nonperishable foods such as toilet paper, diapers, beans, rice and most importantly face masks and hand sanitizers.
Now Ms. Tenes is the one getting recognized with feature stories in the October edition of AARP Magazine with 38.3 million readers per edition and Modern Latina Magazine that acknowledges the talent and strengths of Latinas with inspirational stories who are making a difference in the world. Tenes was named a Brawny® giant!, a campaign featuring individuals who have stepped up to go above and beyond to help others during the pandemic. On Sunday she received the Sisterhood Award from the Latina Coalition of Silicon Valley which recognizes Latinas that are making an impact in the Bay Area community at a virtual event in San Jose. CA.
The next and final Farmworker Caravan for 2020 will take place on Saturday, October 17th going from San Jose to San Juan Bautista, an agricultural town in Northern California. For more information visit farmworkercaravan.com.