In coordination with the California Department of Food and Agriculture and local community organizations, Tulare County Health and Human Services announced on Friday the Healthy Harvest program, bringing housing support to the county’s agriculture and farmworkers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

 "The work toward implementing the Healthy Harvest Program has been a unique display of community partners and government agencies coming together to provide resources and services ensuring the well-being of all residents in Tulare County during these challenging times,” stated Pete Vander Poel, chairman of the Tulare County Board of Supervisors. “Tulare County helps to feed the world, and we are fortunate to be able to support all who make that happen."

 The Healthy Harvest program is part of the statewide Housing for the Harvest effort to provide temporary hotel housing options for farm and food-processing employees to self-isolate if they have tested positive for COVID-19 and don't require hospitalization, or have been exposed and cann't properly self-isolate at home. Tulare County joins five other counties — Kings, Riverside, Santa Barbara, Fresno, and San Joaquin, currently participating in the statewide program.

 "Counties across the state are stepping up to provide a safe, temporary housing solution to protect agricultural workers who need to isolate," said CDFA secretary Karen Ross. "These hardworking men and women are on the front lines of the pandemic, and it is critical that we protect them, their families, and local communities."    

 Similar to Project Roomkey, the Healthy Harvest program secures hotel rooms for agricultural workers and also provides additional services, like meals, wellness checks, and in-language assistance via support from the Tulare County Community Care Coalition and local community organizations. Through additional efforts of coalition partners, supplemental services are also being offered to support families at home. Proteus, Inc. is Tulare County’s local administrator of the program, serving as the primary point of contact for eligible workers.

 "Proteus is honored to be part of this process in which we can serve the farmworker population. They are essential workers who are often forgotten, and we are glad we can help assist them in their time of need," said Michelle Engle-Silva, Executive Director of Operations, Proteus, Inc.    

 Farmworkers and food-processing workers in Tulare County who are in need of these services are urged to visit www.thehealthyharvest.org or www.cosechasana.org, or they can call (559) 710-2000. Personal information gathered through the Healthy Harvest program will be kept strictly confidential. For agricultural business on-site COVID-19 testing scheduling, agriculture employers can visi twww.thehealthyharvest.org for more information.    

RAWHIDE OWNERS CONTRIBUTE $50,000

Officials have partnered with the Central Valley Community Foundation to form a regional Healthy Harvest program to provide additional funding for support services and outreach for the Healthy Harvest program. Through this partnership, former and current owners of the Visalia Rawhide baseball team teamed up to contribute $50,000 to help fund the Healthy Harvest Program in Tulare County.

 "The critical work of growing and harvesting the food we all rely on has not stopped because of COVID-19. The Rawhide and my family are proud to be a part of the Healthy Harvest Program and to support their mission, expertise, and vital work in building a healthy community," said Sam Sigal, Visalia Rawhide owner.

The Visalia Rawhide has been an iconic presence in Tulare County by tipping its hat to the Ag industry that propels our community. By stepping up to help financially support our Healthy Harvest program, the Community Care Coalition in Tulare County can bring much-needed supportive services to our farmworkers and their families affected by COVID-19,” said Coalition co-chairs Rosemary Caso, Executive Director of United Way Tulare County, and Francena Martinez, Division Manager, Tulare County Health and Human Services. “We applaud their efforts in making sure this critical program is available to those who need it.”

 The Tulare County Community Care Coalition was formed in partnership with Tulare County Health and Human Services, partner agencies, more than 40 area community-based organizations and local non-profits to work together during the COVID-19 pandemic providing supportive services to all Tulare County residents. The Community Care Coalition coordinates area response for resources, programs, and services to those impacted by COVID-19. This includes testing/outreach events, water, resource packets, food, and other items as they're made available from coalition partners.

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