USDA has awarded 15 nonprofits over $600 million in Farm and Food Workers Relief Program grants to assist farm workers, meatpacker, and grocery workers nationwide with direct COVID-related relief payments.
UMOS, headquartered in Milwaukee, will get nearly $56.9 million to implement the program in 13 states.
A one-time direct payment of $600 will be made to over 75,000 eligible applicants nationwide within a two-year period. In Wisconsin, UMOS anticipates dispersing over $8.9 million in debit cards to over 10,000 eligible agricultural workers and approximately 4,800 meatpackers throughout the state.
“We applaud USDA for appropriating direct relief payments for eligible frontline farmworkers, meatpackers, and grocery workers to help defray costs associated with previous or on-going purchases of personal protective equipment and other expenses incurred during the pandemic,” says UMOS President and CEO Lupe Martinez. He adds other costs include testing, quarantining, vaccinations, child care, and other personal, family or living expenses.
Farm workers, meatpackers and grocery workers were classified by the federal government as “essential workers” during the height of the pandemic.
UMOS will deliver services directly in Wisconsin, Illinois, Oklahoma, Minnesota, Missouri and Texas. UMOS plans to partner with other nonprofit organizations in Florida, Arkansas, Colorado, Kansas, Iowa, Indiana and Nebraska to identify eligible workers and assist with the application process. Any farm worker or meatpacker, who earned at least $1.00 in agricultural work, has proper documentation, and proof of identification can apply.
UMOS and its partners will outreach to farm workers and meatpacking workers and their employers, accept and process applications, collect verification, determine eligibility, and issue payments. UMOS will maintain strong financial controls to ensure funds get into the hands of eligible workers and will use an elaborate data base system to avoid payment duplication for those who migrant and work throughout several states.
“We are especially happy to see frontline agricultural workers recognized for their contributions to the nation’s workforce and the food supply chain,” says Martinez. “Oftentimes they are overlooked in federal
agricultural relief efforts.”
For more information on eligibility requirements, call UMOS at 833-758-2004.