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EXCLUSIVE: Foodbank of Santa Barbara County boosts efforts to help farm workers struggling during record breaking inflation

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY, Calif. - On a hot sunny day, farm worker Pedro Sierra walks through a field of Gerbera daisies in Carpinteria.

The last few months of record breaking inflation have hit Sierra and his coworkers extremely hard.

"Everybody needs food on the table. Right now you know inflation and everything is headed up," said Sierra.

Most of the farm workers at the flower farm are trying to support their families at home.

“We live hard times now. sometimes we’re working only 5 days … sometimes we working 7 … 8 hours a day … so the persons … we need help," said farm worker Adan Santder of Carpinteria.

80 percent of them are women raising children struggling to make ends meet.

"We have to kind of like save … try to save … find resources to help," said farm worker Brenda Marcelino of Carpinteria.

Farm worker Sandra Solorio says she works six days a week, hoping to give her two kids a better future.

“i want my kids to study and not work like me," said Solorio.

During the past few months managers at the flower farm say more employees are expressing financial hardships than ever before.

"But the past few months it’s a large majority of them. we just know how hard they work … they work very long days … they’re working six days a week. so just knowing that and the thought of them going home after they after such a hard days work and worrying about how they’re going to feed themselves or their families is heartbreaking," said general manager Cagney Miller of the flower farm in Carpinteria.

So the foodbank of Santa Barbara County is stepping up its efforts to help these parents feed their families … crucial to those who need it now more than ever.

“There is definitely a growing need as you can imagine with inflation it’s hitting everyone and especially this population our hardest workers," said chief impact officer Lacey Valdiviez of the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.

The foodbank expanded its food services across Santa Barbara County and into Ventura County.

“It’s so important because the farm workers are such a key part of Santa Barbara County agriculture. they feed our entire community. they feed the world," said Valdiviez.

“Happiness ha ha kind of relieved yes like relieved grateful and just thankful that they could be able to do that for us," said Marcelino.

As for Sierra, he looks forward to giving the flowers and his family a healthy life.

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Patricia Martellotti

Patricia Martellotti is a reporter for News Channel 3-12. To learn more about Patricia, click here.


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