LA nonprofit feeds 1,300 undocumented families during the pandemic
Los Angeles, California - The coronavirus pandemic has been stressful for everyone, but undocumented immigrants are facing unique hardships as they deal with the pandemic, including very limited access to health care, looming fears of deportation, and ineligibility for unemployment benefits.
When restaurants shut down across the country in March, Damian Diaz and Othón Nolasco knew they needed to help the undocumented workers who were being left out in a time of need.
Now, the two are feeding 1,300 families every week in Los Angeles through their nonprofit No Us Without You.
"We're talking porters, dishwashers, line cooks, prep cooks, we've also extended our help to street vendor and cleaning crews from different hotels," Diaz said, according to ABC 7 New York.
Diaz and Nolasco distribute 130,000 pounds of food a week in Downtown Los Angeles's Arts District. Ahead of the holidays, they even handed out donations of turkeys, Christmas trees, and new toys for the families in need."Each family gets a box of food that helps sustain their family of four to five for up to a week," Diaz added.
While many undocumented workers have taxes taken out of their paychecks, they are not eligible for unemployment benefits, leaving them especially vulnerable.
"We jumped into action and we got 10 families fed for the first week. And now eight months later, we're about 1,300 families with the help of our team behind me," Diaz said about his nonprofit, which he co-founded in March 2020.
Everyone receiving food has filled out a questionnaire beforehand confirming that they don't quality for federal relief.
An estimated 11 million undocumented immigrants live in the US, and many of them are working essential jobs. The Migration Policy Institute revealed that 6 million immigrant workers, documented and undocumented, are working on the front lines of pandemic response, and another 6 million are in industries hardest hit by the crisis.
Cover photo: No Us Without You LA/Instagram/Screenshot