MESA COUNTY, Colo. – Migrant farm labor supports the 28 billion dollar fruit and vegetable industry in the United States; with the USDA finding that out of 3 million people working in the agriculture industry, over 1 million of them are hired farmworkers.
Hundreds of men and women migrate outside of their country to work between the months of January and October in the fields of the Grand Valley. Palisade’s Child and Migrant Services gives these farmworkers jobs, as well as healthcare opportunities, and hot meals they may not have had access to before.
“We just try to be the place where if they need something they can come ask for it,” says Palisade Child and Migrant Service’s Nelly Garcia.
Adding that the least they can do for those who put food on our tables, is to help put food on theirs. One woman working at the C.M.S. goes above and beyond for those she helps.
“Maria is also an immigrant coming from Mexico to the United States, and she is such a hard worker,” explains Garcia.
Maria wakes up at 5 o’clock in the morning to work in the fields of Palisade before going to the C.M.S. to advocate for those she labors beside; making sure they have living accommodations, access to free healthcare, and education opportunities because she understands firsthand just how difficult their work is.
“It’s so hard, especially in the Summer; the sun is so hot outside and it’s, it’s really hard work,” says Maria Frausto.
“And after she leaves, she doesn’t stop,” continues Garcia.
Maria is also a small business owner – after leaving C.M.S., she sets off to One Stop Cleaning Services, her own house-cleaning company.
“I love to make people happy with a clean house you know,” adds Frausto.
Those who know Maria say she embodies just what Hispanic heritage is all about; that in one way, shape, form, or another, it all comes back to family.
“I have four kids,” laughs Frausto when asked why she works so hard.
Family is Maria’s motivation for all of her hard work.
“The kids push me to work hard for them because when I was little I didn’t have the things that I want to give to them you know,” explains Frausto.
Maria’s story is just one of many farmworkers in the Grand Valley who would do anything to see their families are safe, happy, and healthy.
“She does it all, and she does it well,” adds Garcia.