Farmworkers on the Frontline of Climate Change

On September 24 of this year, Hurricane Ian slammed into Southwest Florida.

A Category 4 storm, Ian devastated communities from Punta Gorda to Naples, causing somewhere between $50 and $65 billion worth of damage. Within a few hours, millions were without power and thousands found themselves displaced due to the extensive damage to their homes. The devastation was – and remains – immense:  Hurricane Ian was the deadliest storm since Hurricane Katrina swept over the levees of New Orleans, and nowhere was that more felt than the low-income communities of the coast and farmworker communities trapped in the flood zones of the center of the Sunshine State.

As a human rights organization, we have always been on the front lines of climate disaster.  Even before the rains dissipated, staff members of the CIW and many others within the Fair Food Nation were mobilizing to help those around us get immediate supplies they lacked, and to begin rebuilding communities, piece by piece.

Can you donate today to ensure that CIW will be ready for tomorrow’s storm?

When disaster strikes, the CIW’s hard-earned knowledge and experience are invaluable:  Drawing on our hurricane relief experience following Hurricanes Wilma (2005) and Irma (2017), a team of CIW leaders and local volunteers quickly drew up plans to help our neighbors. We mapped out the most affected areas in nearby coastal cities that had yet to receive any relief, made extensive shopping lists of essential food and supplies, spent hours re-packing bulk goods into individual family packages, rented and loaded multiple U-haul box trucks, and sent out teams to distribute materials to affected communities in Fort Myers, Naples, and Arcadia. We also packed up our chainsaws, gloves, and sunscreen (skies are almost always the clearest in the wake of hurricanes…) and made our way to Fort Myers Congregational United Church of Christ — a Fair Food Congregation whose congregants have supported farmworkers’ rights for decades — to help our friends clear the fallen trees, branches and other storm debris from their damaged roof that had scattered throughout their yard.

It is in these critical moments like Hurricane Ian where CIW quickly transforms from a human rights organization to a crisis response center. As the climate destabilizes and becomes more unpredictable in the future, our experience with crisis response is only growing more and more necessary.

We must build resilience within our organization and our communities to withstand future super-storms like Ian while also continuing to build a better, brighter future in which workers have greater economic and housing security to stay safe. And in order to build that future, we need your help to strengthen the CIW’s local power and organizational strength.  You can help us meet the next crisis head-on.

We are raising $100,000 by the end of 2022, even a donation of $10 can go a long way towards helping us achieve that goal.

Help us build the future of human rights.

Click here to make a gift to the Coalition of Immokalee Workers today!