August is normally an especially tough month for farmworkers, as it is replete with long, exhausting workdays during the dog days of summer. This year’s pandemic, an extended heat wave and smoke from regional fires have made what some call the August Human Misery Index that much greater.

At CMS, impacts related to the pandemic and other factors have diminished staff and volunteer availability just when we need all hands on deck. Our small staff is being stretched to meet demand for services and to keep up with everyday tasks.

It hasn’t been all bad, though! We are grateful for the welcome community support received from businesses (including faithful supporters Rancho Durazno and Triple Play Records) and civic groups (including Grand Junction’s Horizon Rotary Club) and many generous individuals. We served 220 meals prepared by Fiesta Guadalajara restaurant in Grand Junction to farmworkers and families earlier this month thanks to a grant from the Caring for Our Home Community Fund managed by the Western Colorado Community Foundation. CMS continues to distribute masks, hand sanitizer and other PPE provided through generous donations. Emergency financial assistance is being provided to families confronting financial hardships through help from Justice for Migrant Women/Hispanics in Philanthropy, The Colorado Trust and The Colorado Health Foundation.

The summer harvest season will draw to a close soon, as peaches and other fruit trees will be picked clean in the next several weeks. Many seasonal farmworkers will go home or to other places at the end of August or early September. The next major crop to go online will be grapes, harvested in September and sometimes well into autumn.